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“Strike Force” – The Aircraft Carrier Stunt Show, is a high-octane combat stunt spectacular, featuring a real ex-Soviet aircraft carrier. Following 5 months of pre-production and rehearsal, the action extravaganza was launched October 1, 2010, in Tianjin Binghai Aircraft Theme Park. Designed and produced by Mirage Entertainment, the 50 million RMB production (financed by Tianjin Teda Investment Holding Co., Ltd.) impressed opening day audiences with its Hollywood level stunt performances, and spectacular pyrotechnics.
Director, Todd Lester, a veteran of Hollywood and Broadway, utilizes his experience in a wide variety of theatrical, musical, music video and action-based projects (including a lead acting role in “Cats” and stunt directing on “The Three Musketeers” and “Star Light Express”) to bring together a world class show, with an international cast. Many of the highly skilled stunt performers, imported from the US, Australia, and Germany, are also veterans of the Hollywood or European film industries.
Asked about the challenges of this project, Todd explains that “every action show has its own unique challenges, and with the limited amount of time there was to put up this show, the immediate challenge of time was already an apparent factor. Amusement park shows are notorious for allowing little time to create a full and exciting production, but they still expect a perfect show, none the less. So it’s the Directors job to inspire. To align everyone’s efforts and passions to the final goal, the best show possible. Yes there are many aspects to any good show, but it is the understanding, love and desire, felt by the audience from each performer that gives the show its magic.”
“Performing all the special skills that each cast member brings to the show is something the audience really enjoys, ” continues Todd. Not many people get to see such well executed watercraft routines. Some fighting they may have seen, but not many Chinese audiences have seen such up close, controlled ferocity from us round eyes. There are some elements, like the slide-for life. This is where a performer slides down a wire via a hand held trolley. Not uncommon for action shows, but this is the first time in any action show where three people do it at the same time. The Air craft carrier is a star of the show on its own. Not only does it provide an ideal back drop, but it’s also the main focus of the story. It gives us the opportunity to do some amazing 30 meter falls off the ship and some high-speed rapelling ascensions up the side. All this makes for a wonderful entertainment experience, but, of course, one cannot do an action show justice without mentioning all the special effects. We’ve got people on fire, great fiery explosions, water explosions and pyrotechnics of all kinds.” Our biggest fireballs go 50 meters into the air and the waterspouts go 15 meters high.”
The male lead is Kris James, a tall, muscular stunt performer with over 10 years of action show and movie experience (including the film, “Terminator 2” and the “Waterworld” stunt show at Universal Studios, Hollywood. “We will install a 50 meter long wire between the aircraft and the water stage.” said Kris. Such a long wire stunt is a big challenge. It’s never been done before in any film, TV or theatrical production.”
Audiences have been giving the show boffo reviews. “I can feel the wind from the flying motor on my face, and hot waves from the fires were coming towards us, ” said one viewer. “Very exciting! I saw similar shows in the US, but this one is great! Now Chinese audiences do not need to go abroad to enjoy such Hollywood-style entertainment.”