Based on the true story of the bombing of Chongqing city in China by the Japanese, this film follows a bunch of motley Chinese people who are taking a secret decoder to the military. At the same time, American Colonel Jack Johnson (Bruce Willis) is training a squadron of Chinese fighter pilots how to ward off the Japanese who have achieved total air-supremacy over the Chinese with their superior Zero fighter planes.
The first thing that strikes you about ‘Air Strike’ is the scale of the film. The sets are elaborate, the action quite dramatic and the air battles are quite decently executed. The only problem is, it’s all surface-level. The pieces don’t fit together quite well. The Chaos looks beautiful but there is no method to the madness. Breathtakingly CGI fights in the sky, at times, have nothing to do with what’s happening on the ground. The timelines of the two stories that play out are muddled up which makes it tough to enjoy the action. If any scene even dares to get interesting, Japanese Zero bombers appear out of nowhere and the characters have to duck for cover. The film completely fails in merging the emotional aspect with the action.
Bruce Willis, as the cigar chewing colonel gives a one-dimensional performance as he flip-flops between being an angry instructor and a loving superior. Adrien Brody has hardly any role to play. The Chinese cast manage to give a decent performance but their track is clichéd and uninteresting.
It’s also ironic, given all the Chinese nationalism shown in the film, that the film did not get a release in China owing to corruption allegations against its producers. With a shoddy edit and a poor storyline, the only reason to watch the film is for its elaborate fight action sequences. Besides that, there’s nothing more to look forward to in this uninspiring World War II drama.