Tearing up the cinema for Chinese New Year in 2022, Watergate Bridge is the sequel to the smash hit and highest grossing Chinese film of all time Battle at Lake Changjin.
Following on from the first movie, virtually the entire cast are in the sequel.
And the cast is very impressive. But who are they, and where have you probably seen them before.
Let’s meet the cast of Watergate Bridge, the Battle at Lake Changjin 2
Wu "Jacky" Jing
Without a doubt the biggest name in the film is this guy, Wu Jing. Born in April 1974 in Beijing, Wu Jing is a trained Wushu martial artist who was discovered in 1995 by popular Hong Kong director Yuen Woo-Ping, who cast him as the lead in Tai Chi 2, where he was given the name Jacky Wu. He stayed in Hong Kong for about a decade working with actors like Louis Koo, Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung, Simon Yam and directors like Tsui Hark, Wilson Yip and Benny Chan.
From Triad Wars, to Zu Warriors, KillZone to Invisible Target and horrible City Under Siege, it was 2015 when his career really took off in the mainland when he wrote, directed and starred in the blockbuster hit Wolf Warrior. 2 years later he followed it up with part 2, which was the highest grossing Chinese film of all time until Battle at Lake Changjiin, and then in 2019 he starred in both the sci-fi smash hit The Wandering Earth and true-story The Climbers, while in 2020 he took the lead in The Sacrifice. Wu Jing is hot property in China, and very well loved.
You know who else is well loved, his co-star Jackson Yee. Born in November 2000 in Hunnan, Jackson started his career as a singer and dancer joining the boy band TFboys. He was featured in a handful of TV series from 2016 to 2019 until he get his big cinematic break in the utterly brilliant Derek Tsang drama film Better Days alongside Chinese screen darling Dongyu Zhou. His performance earned him the Best Newcomer aware at the Asian Film Awards in 2020, and since then he has been in a fairly steady stream of hits including A Little Red Flower, Chinese Doctors and Nice View, while the film Hero / Her Story should be released in 2022. A strong line up, his only misstep was the 2020 long-delayed release of the fantasy animation film LORD2.
Arguably the third biggest name in this film, which would probably annoy him, is Zhang Hanyu. In the film he plays historical figure Song Shilun, and plays him well. Sharing the same birthday as myself, but from 1964, Hanyu has an impressive list of action thrillers to his name. His first role was in the TV series Legends of the Monkey King from 1995, but his movie worked picked up in the early 2000s with roles in the comedy drama Cell Phone, the 2009 Hong Kong co-production Bodyguards and Assassins with Donnie Yen and Fan Bingbing, and again in 2013 in another Donnie Yen hit Special ID, while 2015 was an impressive year with roles in the excellent Mr Six and the thrilling Operation Mekong, with more action roles in Operation Red Sea, playing the brave captain Liu Changjian from the blockbuster hit The Captain, starring alongside Jackson Yee in Chinese Doctors and finishing off 2021 with the main role of Lao Hong in the rather average film Railway Heroes.
Now to the faces you will know, but the names you don’t. Yawen Zhu, born in April 1984, has snuck up on film lovers in the last years. Starting his career in TV, he featured alongside Zhang Hanyu in both 2019’s The Captain and 2021’s The Chinese Doctors, while also working alongside Zhang Yimou in a starring role in his 2021 spy thriller Cliff Walkers. For TV lovers though, if you know the series Da Ming Feng Hua, starring Tang Wei, you’ll know that not only was he a major part of this, but he won many many awards for his role.
This guy has one of those face you definitely know. Hu Jun, born in March 1968 has a long and varied career of hits in both Hong Kong and China. Some might recognise him from the 2003 sequel Infernal Affairs 2, other might know him from his monster role as Zhao Yun from John Woo’s epic Red Cliff. Or maybe you can recognise him from Hong Kong action films Firestorm and As The Light Goes Out. But if you are trying to think of where you have seen him recently, well that would be as Bo Yan in the 2021 fantasy movie the Curse of Turandot with Dylan Sprouse, Wen Jiang, and Xiaotong Guan.
And how about this guy? Yihong Duan, born in May 1973, he is another actor with another impressive list of hit movies to his name. From featuring in Lou Ye’s controversial 2006 movie Summer Palace, the brilliant 2009 movie The Message which also featured Zhang Hanyu, or the outstanding 2017 action thriller Explosion, where he starred as an explosive expert who needs to clear his name of wrongful murder, its his recent role in 2021’s Leste Chen thriller Home Sweet Home where you might recognise him from, where he starred alongside Aaron Kwok and Zifang Zheng.
And finally Le Geng, born in November 1974, his career spans 30 years and includes a string of TV series and movies including a strange 2013 monster film called Legendary starring Scott Adkins and Dolph Lundgren, a role in the 2013 horror hit Bunshinsaba 2, 2017’s smash horror hit the House That Never Dies 2, 2017’s award winning drama Bitter Flowers, a small part in patriotic historical drama My People My Country, and landing two big roles in 2021 including the true story of the creation of the communist party 1921 and in Chinese Doctors, the third actor from this film to be in that movie.
Elvis Han and Chen "Jerry" Li
A few lesser-known actors include Elvis Han, who was also in 1921, My People My Country and the upcoming Oxide Pang blockbuster Flash Over alongside Wang Qianyuan from The Eight Hundred, while finally Chen “Jerry” Li who has been very busy in the last three years with parts in the comedy My People My Homeland, 1921, Chinese Doctors and The Eight Hundred
And to wrap up, let’s talk about the directors. While Tsui Hark is headlined as the main director, Kaige Chen and Dante Lam are uncredited following-up from the trio’s effort from Part 1. Tsui Hark is a well known and well loved Chinese director, who was actually born in Vietnam back in 1950. He is responsible for movies than we could mention, so lets tell you the big ones: A Better Tomorrow 3, Once Upon In China 1, 2, 3 and 5, Twin Dragons, Van Damme movies Double Team and Knock Off, Zu Warriors, The Taking of Tiger Mountain and so much more.
Kaige Chen, born in Beijing on 1952, was responsible for some Chinese classics including Farewell My Concubine, The Emperor and the Assassin, American film Killing Me Softly, Legend of Demon Cat and, would you believe, the Duran Duran music video for the song Do You Believe in Shame from 1989. How’s that for something unique!
And what about Dante Lam? Born on the 1st of Jult 1965, Dante Lam could be described as the Chinese version of Michael Bay. He loves his blockbusters and loves his explosions, from movies like The Viral Factor, The Rescue and the two Operation movies Red Sea and Mekong, and of course, one of his first films, the Hong Kong schlocky action film Beast Cops.
We hope this article has made you more familiar with the cast of the blockbuster hit Watergate Bridge. Do you know who these guys are, and what movies of theirs are you favourites?