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No guts, no glory

By Xu Fan | China Daily | Updated: 2022-05-18 08:14
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Scene from the popular TV series Glory of Special Forces, in which actor Yang Yang starring as elite armed police officer Yan Poyue (right, facing front) salutes a superior. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Despite setbacks and budgetary constraints, director Xu Jizhou is basking in the glow of victory as his special forces-themed TV show wins wide acclaim, Xu Fan reports.

Commando attacks, overseas peacekeeping and fighting terrorists. These dangerous military missions were the main daily topics of conversation between director Xu Jizhou and his actors during the casting process of Glory of Special Forces.

The 45-episode TV series-which recently concluded its first run on Zhejiang Satellite TV and Dragon TV, among others-has enjoyed huge popularity, exemplified by reaching nearly 2 billion accumulated views on the streaming site Tencent Video.

Also distributed overseas, the series has been broadcast in more than 10 countries and regions, including South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and North America.

Adapted from a popular online novel, the series recounts the story of Yan Poyue, an ambitious young man born into a military family, who dreams of becoming the best special forces soldier. Rebellious and aggressive, but clearly talented, Yan, played by actor Yang Yang, is initially an outcast among his fellow team members. Encountering a string of setbacks, the protagonist gradually transforms into a qualified elite member of the People's Armed Police Force who, alongside his comrades, tackles a drug ring at China's border.

A veteran who has worked in China's television industry for more than two decades, Xu developed an interest in helming the TV series-retelling the larger-than-life stories about the special units of the People's Armed Police Force-in late 2017.

"The financial environment for the domestic film and TV industry was prosperous back then. I was told that the project would have the resources to allow me to shoot a TV series in a cinematic way," recalls Xu.

Compared to a TV series, a movie usually allows creators a longer production period, enabling them to spend more time polishing all the details with a bigger budget. Additionally, in line with Chinese audience's rising national pride, several military-themed blockbusters, such as 2017's Wolf Warrior 2 and 2018's Operation Red Sea, all earned whopping box-office receipts, also enhancing the confidence of the producers to dive into the project, Xu notes.

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