Elite Force: Operation Mekong is a thrilling, action-packed new movie inspired by true events. Earning rave reviews worldwide, it became one of China’s biggest box office hits.
Following an international crisis when Chinese commercial vessels are ambushed on the Mekong River, an elite team of narcotic officers are dispatched to the Golden Triangle region, with evidence the attack came from a notorious drug cartel in the area. Led by Captain Gao Gang who partners with intelligence officer and undercover specialist Fang Xinwu, the team embarks on a death-defying mission for the ultimate takedown of a ruthless drug lord.
To celebrate the long-awaited UK release, we explore some facts behind the true story and how this epic and ambitious movie was created.
- On 5 October 2011, two Chinese cargo ships were attacked on a stretch of the Mekong River in
the Golden Triangle region on the borders of Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand, with all crew
members on both ships killed. It is still considered the deadliest attack on Chinese nationals
abroad in recent times
- In the aftermath, 900,000 methamphetamine tablets worth more than $3m (£2m) were
- According to police, drug gangs demand protection money from boats on the Mekong River
- Very early on, police suspected the attack was masterminded by drug lord Naw Kham and, after
a long pursuit, he was subsequently arrested and extradited, with nine Thai soldiers also implicated
- In December 2011 China, Burma, Laos, and Thailand began joint patrols on the Mekong after a
groundbreaking security agreement was reached among the four countries, the first joint
deployment of its kind in Southeast Asia
- Director Dante Lam and his team travelled to the Golden Lion Triangle region for extensive
research and to interview locals to better understand life there
- Various aerial shots were created to manage the epic scale of the film and allow audiences to
understand the Mekong case from every possible angle
- For safety reasons, the cast and crew wore real bullet-proof vests during filming
- The film won a number of accolades including Best Action Choreography at the prestigious
Hong Kong Film Awards and three wins at the Chinese American Film Festival, the only film
festival recognised by both the Motion Picture Association of America and China’s State
Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.
- A major box office hit in China, Elite Force: Operation Mekong would become one of the
country’s highest grossing films, earning over $170m or £133m, and reaffirmed Dante Lam as one
of East Asia’s top action directors. He is now filming a follow-up titled Operation Red Sea, depicting
a Chinese army rescue mission in the Middle East