Fading Hollywood actors lured over to China to phone in supporting roles by the promise of a substantial paycheck in major blockbusters is becoming a regular occurrence lately, so it was almost inevitable that Bruce Willis would want a piece of the action eventually, given the sheer volume of terrible VOD efforts he tends to sleepwalk his way through these days.
Following in the footsteps of Adrien Brody and John Cusack’s Dragon Blade, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Iron Mask, Michael Douglas’ Animal World and more, Willis packed up his bags and headed East to take second billing in historical war drama Air Strike. The $65 million feature also boasted Mel Gibson behind the scenes as art director and creative adviser, which was based on his interest in the true-life story that inspired the film.
Set in 1943, Air Strike unfolds during the bombing operations launched on the Chongqing municipality that lasted for five years. However, the movie was never actually released in Chinese theaters despite being the most expensive local production ever made at the time. Star Fan Bingbing was convicted of financial fraud and tax evasion, which saw the local authorities pull Air Strike from the schedule and hand the actress a fine of close to $130 million.
As a result, it’s largely been lost to the sands of time, but the flick is now streaming on both Netflix and Hulu, where it’s been drawing in a surprisingly large audience. It’s certainly an undemanding film if very far from a great one, with Bruce Willis scowling his way through the proceedings as explosions go off in the background all around him, but there are clearly a lot of people getting a real kick out of it.