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Operation Red Sea

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Gerlinde Goschi
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Operation Red Sea

I first heard about this movie when Prof. Rosen of USC mentioned this in one of the seminars calling it China’s Black Hawk Down.  This movie was the third highest grossing movie ever in China earning about $ 579 million while its budget was about $ 70 million;  an impressive gain. (   

Directed by Dante Lam, released in 2018, the plot centers around the evacuation of 225 foreigners and almost 600 Chinese citizens from Yemen’s southern port of Arden during the civil war in 2015.  This movie surprised me in many ways. Some of them stand out. For example, the superb acting and directing are notable. It is action-laden and quite bloody while portraying humanity and sensitivity in all soldiers.  Heroic and selfless acts in tragic situations are abundant.

After reading an article reviewing the movie by Xinjan Yu entitled Everything I learned from watching China’s new “Rambo style movie,”  (March 7, 2018 ), I  have to agree with some of the points made.


  1. China is flexing its muscles in Africa

This is a point supported during our seminars as we learned of the Belt and Road

Initiative to aid African nations. It is also reflected in the movie as the Chinese Navy

demonstrates its might by saving its citizens.


  1. China plays by the rules

China is attacked in the movie, although not directly, its citizens have been endangered

are no longer safe.  An attack on Chinese citizens is one on China itself.


  1. It’s China’s turn to save the world

While saving its citizens, the Chinese navy commander decides to save foreign hostages and secure transport of uranium.


  1. Patriotism sells

The numbers support this point.


“But Operation Red Sea” is by far China’s  most sophisticated propaganda action film to date.” is the last sentence of the article.  Perhaps? The Chinese government would have had to sign off on the movie, but it is still entertaining and well directed.  As Dante Lam, the director stated “We are not just making a regular film. We are making a film with the support of the Chinese Navy, so it’s an act of the state.”   The recurring quote in throughout the movie is “Conquer fear, conquer all.”

Ricardo Reyes
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Ricardo Reyes's picture
Operation Red Sea

I had to see this Netflix listing as it was recommended by what to see tonight. Then, came along your review Gerlinde and I was sold. So, I saw it without interruption and couldn't believe how well done the pacing and sequential storyline completely captivated me. This story based on fact, more or less, revealed how much we need to find out about in how the international community faces difficulty and risk and not just the U.S. I have gained profound respect for how the actual circumstances played out even though the Middle Eastern revels are portrayed as mostly evil terrorists when the situation is far more complex and multi-sided. 

Marcos Rico
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Operation Red Sea


           Thank you for your review of this movie, especially for not putting any spoilers. My teenage sons enjoyed Black Hawk Down, so they sure will enjoy watching this movie with me. Even better, this movie is on Netflix. I noticed it earlier today while looking for a different movie on the system. It called my attention for its title "Operation Red Sea", made me think of another Chinese action movie that I watched with my sons a couple of weeks ago, can not remember the name but it was also on Netflix.