While western civilization is focused on telling men that they are the fault of all the world problems, it’s a Chinese film that shows that during arduous times, it is the will of men to sacrifice everything including themselves if it means protecting everyone else around them.
The Bravest is a film that excels where so many Chinese blockbusters before it has failed. Our film is based on a group of Chinese firefighters who are cleaning up the remains of a restaurant fire. A deadly mistake ends up costing the lives of one of the men and the morale of the group becomes mentally fractured. Unfortunately, they have no time to dread on the void that they have suffered because a massive oil spill at a major chemical plant threatens the lives of every citizen in the city. The firefighters don’t have many resources but they must hold their ground as they are the only line of defense for an entire region.
Credit where credit is due, the effects of this film far surpass what we normally see from films in this region. I had been long convinced that China simply didn’t have the resources available to them to make passable special effects, that is not the case for The Bravest. The scale of the effects shows that they spared no expense on the visuals. As far as the story goes, there are many moving parts and subplots involved here. Some of the plots don’t grip you as much as the central story does. The score of this movie tends to turn legitimate peril into melodrama which hurts some of the scenes where the drama is actually very good.
The meat and potatoes of the film are the characters’ relationship with each other and their commitment to saving the lives of others at the cost of their own. The Bravest doesn’t pack the punch that Only The Brave does because the real-life story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots was far more tragic and this film dramatizes the real story. However, watching a group of brave men accept the fact that they aren’t going home and pushing forward anyway because they know they have to, tugs at the heartstrings of the viewer.
Now you can’t ignore the involvement of the Chinese Government in this film (or any Chinese film at that) but this is more of a tribute to firefighters than a celebration of the communist government and no one is going to hit at the real-life dangers that firefighters go through. In a world that needs to celebrate the bravery and resilience of selfless men now more than ever, this film couldn’t have come at a better time.