And if you think that’s not bizarre enough for your taste, let me add this: it was shot in Budapest. Our capital city – in a rather unusual twist – will be starring as herself in the PRC’s take on the spy thriller genre, The Rookies. Check out the trailer if you want to hear Milla Jovovich’s best Batman impersonation!
As part of her two-decade-long series of questionable career choices, the Ukrainian-born actress decided to take on the mantle, or rather the trench coat of Bruce (we don’t know either), head of a secret organization, called the Order of the Phantom Knighthood, fighting against …evil, I guess? She’s accompanied by Darren Wang’s (also known as Wang Talu) extreme sports lover character, Zhao Feng and, I quote: “an unemployed doctor, an unprofessional scientist and a crappy (sic!) police officer”. Let’s just say that the plot might not be the movie’s strong suit, but whether the delivery is convincing enough, I’ll let you decide:
The action-comedy film already made a debut in mainland China in December 21, 2019, but the production companies behind the movie probably decided now to cash in based on Milla Jovovich’s name in the West, too. From a Chinese perspective though, the cast is already star-studded: the aforementioned Wang (“Our Times”) is accompanied by the French-Taiwanese Sandrine Pinna, lead actress in Taiwan’s 2012 Academy Award entry, “Touch of the Light”, and C-pop star Xu Weizhou aka Timmy Xu.
Anyway, it’s always good to see the familiar streets of Budapest in the silver screen. Some of the more noteworthy locations include the Váci Street, the Gellért Hill, the Hungarian State Opera House and the Szabadság híd (Liberty Bridge). The trailer includes some overhead shots of the river Danube, with the Parliament and Margit híd (Margaret Bridge), connecting Pest, Buda and the Margit-sziget (Margaret Island). Around the 0:21 mark you might get a glimpse of the Keleti Pályaudvar (Eastern Railway Station), which might be familiar to you from the first scene of “Mission Impossible – Phantom Protocol”, and it is rumoured to be featured in the upcoming “Black Widow” movie.
Other locations include Szentendre (a beautiful historical town, just north of Budapest), Hong Kong, and the interior photography was done in Beijing,
At the time when it was shot in Budapest in 2017, Milla Javovich was amused by the city, as seen on her Instagram account.
Let’s hope that the film doesn’t take itself too seriously; if it manages to embrace its campiness, and the marketing department makes sure that the potential audience sees it as such, it can turn out to be a goofy yet satisfying movie, but to be sincere, I have some serious doubts. The movie somehow lacks the stylish and effortless delivery of the “Kingsman” series or any original twist on the already well-known recipe of spy spoofs, based on the trailer only.
Oh, and another thing; Polski Fiats were never used as police cars in Hungary, not even in the seventies (in case the film would include some time traveling, which cannot be ruled out, given the tone). Especially not almost 50 years after they’ve been designed. So, if your looking for an accurate portrayal of our country in this Chinese flick, don’t bet on it.
Sources: Yangtze Evening News, HVG, Rotten Tomatoes