John Woo’s latest film The Crossing is already being billed as “the Chinese Titanic.” This is either an exciting prospect or a terrifying one, depending on how you feel about James Cameron’s hugely successful shipwreck epic. If the recent trailer is any indication, The Crossing is also lot more than a shipboard romance interrupted by a big iceberg.
The two-part film takes place in China during the 1949 revolution as three disparate couples flee the country on an ill-fated steamer bound for Taiwan. The trailer also features several battle sequences that demonstrate Woo’s love of slow-motion, along with a voiceover hoping for a safe return of some of our heroes. All in all, the trailer leaves impressions more than a sense of plot, as it’s difficult to follow who is connected to whom, and why each couple must get out of China. Based on the true story of the sinking of the steamer Taiping, I am afraid that we cannot hope for a happy ending to the narrative.
At a press conference in Beijing where the trailer premiered, Woo explained that he’s always wanted to make this movie, saying that he “wanted to make a film that showed a turbulent period in modern history, to show how love can survive and overcome all difficulties.” While most of us think of Woo as an action director, he went on to say that he can make love stories too and that this film will prove it. Then he explained what themes The Crossing touches on:
This movie has several themes: It is firstly about fate, which means that in life, many things happen for reasons beyond your control. You can make the best of plans, but ultimately what happens is not up to you. It is also about humanity, about how suffering brings out the best and worst in people. More importantly, this movie is also about hope. No matter what happens to you, no matter how difficult things become, things will always get better in the end.
Despite the romantic plot element, The Crossing still looks like it has a healthy dose of action to keep things moving along. I suppose that no one can expect Woo to resist the opportunity for a few explosions.
The first part of The Crossing is due out in China at the end of December, with the second part likely coming sometime in 2015. You can watch the first trailer for the film below.