Operation Red Sea
|Operation Red Sea|
Theatrical release poster
|Mandarin||Hóng Hǎi Xíng Dòng|
|Directed by||Dante Lam|
|Produced by||Yu Dong|
|Written by||Feng Ji|
|Music by||Elliot Leung|
|Box office||US$579.2 million (CN¥3.650 billion)|
Operation Red Sea (Chinese: 红海行动) is a 2018 Chinese action war film directed by Dante Lam and starring Zhang Yi, Huang Jingyu, Hai Qing, Du Jiang and Prince Mak. The film is loosely based on the evacuation of the 225 foreign nationals and almost 600 Chinese citizens from Yemen's southern port of Aden during late March in 2015 Yemeni Civil War. The film is in similar style to that of Operation Mekong.
It serves as the highlight film presented to audiences as a gift for the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, as well as the party's 19th National Congress. This film is said to be "China's first modern naval film". The film has grossed USD$579 million, making it currently the tenth-highest-grossing film of 2018 and second-highest-grossing ever in China. It was selected as the Hong Kong entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.
While on duty and touring through the waters of the Red Sea, the Chinese Navy patrol fleet receives a distress call that Somalian pirates are boarding a cargo ship called the Guangdong and endangering Chinese passengers and seamen on board. They immediately deploy the 8-person Jiaolong Assault Team as their forward unit to try to slow the progress of the pirates until the heavily armed naval vessels can arrive on the scene. Using the assistance of a forward helicopter and a sniper dispatched as part of the assault team, they make significant progress to neutralize the situation while awaiting the main Chinese fleet on duty in the Red Sea. During the operations, their primary sniper receives a crippling spinal injury from gunfire and must be replaced. The assault team is praised for their success once the main fleet arrives.
Later, when the civil war situation in the nation of Yewaire on the Arabian Peninsula becomes unstable, orders are given to evacuate local Chinese personnel and workers from the country. Given the unrest and threats from rebels and local terrorist groups, the Jiaolong Assault team is assigned the task of evacuating the Chinese citizens to safety aboard the main Chinese naval vessels in temporary harbor in the area. Meanwhile, a French-Chinese journalist working in the area receives news that the local terrorist organization, Zaka, are prepared to impede local cooperation with the Chinese by all available military and terrorist means available. The Jiaolong squad manages to save the Chinese civilians caught in the warzone and the PAP gendarmerie forces guarding the ambassador just in a nick of time while also saving an Arabic man forced to participate as a car bomber.
The terrorists are also uncovered to have plans to weaponize yellowcake materials into a dirty bomb. The eight-person forward assault team is given very poor support by the local government which is in turmoil. They must also relocate the Yewaire civilians working there to a safe deployment area 75 miles away using only a jeep convoy for transportation.
The convoy is ambushed by terrorists, and takes significant losses from a trained sniper and mortar attacks. All the civilians and local government troops are killed, except the journalist. Zaka uses a kidnapped Chinese citizen as a bargaining chip so that the Chinese navy will release the Yewairian President, and beheads another hostage as an example. Jiaolong and the journalist track down the hostage (first priority of the mission) to a terrorist stronghold with 150 militants, the local leader Sayyid, and armed with mechanized artillery and tanks. The assault team moves in with a risky plan involving covertly swapping the Chinese hostage and the journalist. The enemy sniper from earlier reappears; the replacement Jiaolong sniper and his spotter are able to take him out. The operation eventually succeeded in evacuating all the hostages, but two Jiaolong members were killed in action and another two were heavily injured.
The four remaining members later wingsuit into the yellowcake exchange site between the terrorists and the rebel group. Zaka backstabs the rebels, and in the chaos the Chinese operatives manage to corner the terrorist leader, who commits suicide. Jiaolong retrieves the dirty bomb recipe and captures the cargo plane carrying the yellowcake. Back on board the Chinese fleet, the fallen soldiers are honored for their courage under fire. Before the end credits, 5 Chinese naval vessels intercept 3 US Navy ships warning them they have entered Chinese waters and must leave immediately.
Based on official Weibo page:
- Zhang Yi as Yang Rui, team leader
- Huang Jingyu as Gu Shun, replacement sniper
- Du Jiang as Xu Hong, deputy team leader, demolitions specialist
- Hai Qing as Xia Nan, French-Chinese journalist
- Wang Yutian as Zhang Tiande ("Rocky"), squad machinegunner
- Jiang Luxia as Tong Li, squad machine gunner and only female member
- Yin Fang as Li Dong, spotter
- Henry Prince Mak as Zhuang Yu, squad signaller
- Guo Jiahao as Lu Chen, squad medic
- Huang Fenfen as Deng Mei a Greenville Energy corporation employee and hostage
- Michelle Bai as an energy corporation employee and hostage
- Zhang Hanyu as Gao Yun, fleet commander
- Jacky Cai as a PLA drone pilot
- Wang Qiang as fleet commissar
- Simon Yam as Albert a Chief Editor of a local Moroccan newspaper and Xia Nan's boss
- Wang Yanlin as Luo Xing, the primary Jiaolong team sniper
- Sanâa Alaoui as Ena, a local Arabic village girl who helps the Jialong team
- Khalid Benchagra as Dr William Parsons, the corrupted head of the Greenville Energy Corporation
- Ayoub Layoussifi as Abu, Xia Nan's Arabic friend and co-worker
- Hassane Guannouni as Sayyid, The leader of the Zaka extremist group
- Mezouari Houssam as Taha, a young but deadly Arabic sniper in the Zaka extremist group
Elliot Leung composed the score to Operation Red Sea, and a digital album consisting of 22 tracks was released two weeks prior to the Chinese premiere on February 2nd. A limited edition was given out only to those who were invited to the film premiere.
Operation Red Sea opened in fourth taking US$76.6 million and climbed to second in its second week, finally reached the top in its third week, taking US$144.2 million for US$498 million after 17 days. It won the international weekend with US$62.6 million to top Black Panther for the second frame in a row. The film led the Chinese film market in the third week earning RMB868 million while Detective Chinatown 2 earned RMB483 million and Monster Hunt 2 about RMB162 million. The film succeeded in moving to the top, knocking Detective Chinatown 2 to second place, while Monster Hunt 2 remained in third. After 23 days of released, Operation Red Sea grossed more than RMB3.4 billion and finally became the top grossing film of Spring Festival of all the time in China, surpassing the previous highest-grossing, The Mermaid.
In the United States and Canada, Operation Red Sea took the highest gross, taking in US$510,000 in 45 theaters on its opening weekend averaging US$11,333, the best per-theater average among the specialty debuts. Distributor Well Go USA touted its launch, which outranked preceding weekend’s Detective Chinatown 2 when comparing straight averages, though that film played 115 runs in its debut.
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s) and nominee(s)||Result||Reference|
|8th Beijing International Film Festival||22 April 2018||Best Visual Effects||Operation Red Sea||Won|||
|25th Beijing College Student Film Festival||6 May 2018||Best Film||Won|||
|Best Actor||Zhang Yi||Nominated|||
|Best Visual Effects||Operation Red Sea||Nominated|
|14th Changchun Film Festival||Best Feature Film||Won|||
|Best Supporting Actor||Eric Wang||Nominated|||
|Best Supporting Actress||Wang Luxia||Won|||
|Best Cinematography||Feng Yuanwen||Won|
|34th Hundred Flowers Awards||Best Picture||Operation Red Sea||Won|||
|Best Director||Dante Lam||Won|
|Best Writing||Dante Lam, Feng Ji, Chen Zhuzhu, Lin Mingjie||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Zhang Yi||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Hai Qing||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Zhang Hanyu||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress||Jiang Luxia||Won|
|Best Newcomer||Wang Yutian||Won|
|5th Hengdian Film and TV Festival of China||Film Outstanding Contribution Award||Operation Red Sea||Won|||
|17th New York Asian Film Festival||Daniel A. Craft Award||Dante Lam||Won|||
|31st Tokyo International Film Festival - Gold Crane Award||Best Feature Film||Operation Red Sea||Won|||
|Most Popular Actor||Huang Jingyu||Won|||
|Best Actress||Hai Qing||Won|||
|17th Huabiao Awards||8 Dec 2018||Outstanding Film||Operation Red Sea||Won|
|Outstanding Director||Dante Lam||Won|
- List of submissions to the 91st Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
- List of Hong Kong submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
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- Operation Red Sea at Douban (in Chinese)
- Operation Red Sea at the Mtime.com (in Chinese)
- Operation Red Sea at the Hong Kong Movie DataBase
- Operation Red Sea on IMDb
- Operation Red Sea at Rotten Tomatoes
- Operation Red Sea at Box Office Mojo
- Operation Red Sea at AllMovie
- Operation Red Sea at Metacritic