A few weeks ago now, I went to see the film 《火锅英雄》, it was a case of advertising working really well. Alipay sent me a notification, saying I might like to watch this film (it probably guessed that based on how I lived in Chongqing for a month earlier this year), so I asked a friend and off we went.
Based in China’s hotpot city, Chongqing, this action comedy is a really good watch. The story is about a group of old classmates who own a hotpot restaurant, who end up planning to rob a bank to solve their debt problems. The only thing is, a gang of highly trained robbers also try to rob the bank at the same time, causing a bit of a kerfuffle to say the least. There’s much more to the story than that, but I don’t want to ruin it for those who haven’t seen it. Unexpectedly, the movie also had English subtitles in the cinema, so who knows, it could be released worldwide!
As it’s set in Chongqing, there are some nice dropbacks of the city and rivers at the beginning and end of the movie. There are lots of jokes and references to hotpot, the city’s staple food it seems and there’s a mixture of standard Mandarin (putonghua) and Chongqing dialect, which sounds really funny in the movie and gives it a real authentic feel.
There’s a lot of action and fighting in the film, which can get a bit gruesome and gory towards the end (are they really going to fight it out to the death?) . The masks are a bit creepy, and the ending is a bit cheesy, but otherwise I loved the film and would definitely recommend watching it, especially for those people who have been to Chongqing and have had some interaction with the locals (did I mention that they love hotpot?).
The film also contains a lot of Chinese elements, it reiterates the 同学 relationship (classmates), even several years after graduation, which is important for a lot of Chinese people, where schoolmates are often ones who you’ll call up out of the blue after 10 years asking for a favour, and they’ll agree to help you.
As the title says, it also emphasises how Chongqing locals love hotpot, did I say that enough times already?