UAE meets China: Chinese action film shot in dreamy Dubai released
A scene from the Chinese blockbuster Switch. (Image: Dubai Film and TV Commission)
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It’s got Chinese megastar Andy Lau, but there’s more to blockbuster Switch that was partially shot in Dubai and was released in the city on October 15. tabloid! rounds up the five things you should know:
Switch’s Dubai connection:
Just as we were relishing the sight of Tom Cruise dangling from Burj Khalifa in blockbuster Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol, there came another grand announcement that would make the UAE flag fly high. Chinese production —Dwelling In The Fuchun Mountain (which later became Switch), would be filmed locally.
“With all due respect, we can assure that we can do much better to present this [city] — the beauty. You can never have sandstorms or bad things happening here — for sure,” said Sun Jian-Jun, the director, addressing a press conference at Atlantis, The Palm, in Dubai in January 2012.
The action drama starring Andy Lau, with a production budget of over $20 million (Dh73 million), was then planning to shoot its key scenes in Dubai’s iconic landmarks including the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab and Atlantis, The Palm.
“Dubai is the only city that can provide a ‘real dream’ for the movie. We got the dream team to a dream land to film a dream movie. I can guarantee that everyone from Dubai will walk out of the cinema feeling proud of their city after watching the movie,” he added. A 300-strong crew was stationed in Dubai to make the film come alive with the help of Dubai Film TV & Commission.
Switch is based on a Chinese legend:
The storyline was inspired by the legend surrounding one of China’s most famous paintings and can be considered a reflection on what’s happening in China, according to its makers.
Painted between 1348 and 1350, the work is a masterpiece by Huang Gongwang. It was burnt into two pieces in 1650. Today, one piece is kept in a museum in Hangzhou, while the other piece is kept in a museum in Taipei.
“People have been fighting over this painting for so many centuries. We used that concept of the painting being torn in two to symbolise China being torn in two and the desire to reunite it,” said Sun Jian-Jun.
He claimed that his heist thriller will be a modern legend that highlights duels of life Vs death, justice and evil.
Switch was billed as China’s MI4:
It was billed as the first production to be predominantly shot outside China. Dubai is one of six cities to be featured along with Hangzhou, Fuyang, Taipei, Tokyo and Milan.
Switch shows swanky cars speeding through the Atlantis, The Palm lobby: now that’s a sight to remember:
The director of Switch, Sun Jian-Jun, had made a pact with Dubai while filming here. He wouldn’t paint an unrealistic picture of Dubai with any blinding sand storms or camels dotting the road. He may have stayed away from that, but he didn’t shy away from utilising hotel lobbies in Dubai as adrenaline-charged highways. The scene in which a car zooms through a plush hotel lobby is a sight to behold. Switch boasts special effects from Avatar’s Chuck Comisky. Plus, it’s wonderful to see the iconic landmarks such as Burj Al Arab, Burj Khalifa and rolling sand dunes light up the big screen. High five to Dubai, we say.
China’s state-produced Switch beat Paramount’s Star Trek: Into Darkness at the box office:
The thriller may have received mixed reviews, but there’s no stopping its bull run at the box office in China. The much-anticipated thrilled raked in 46 million yuan ($7.8 million) on its opening day, the third-highest opening-day total in history for a local film, according to media research firm Entgroup.
*Switch released in the UAE on October 15.
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