The success of The Wandering Earth 上海堡垒 earlier this year brought out the full potential of the science fiction genre in China that not many thought were possible for a domestic film. It has certainly opened doors and raised the bar for the similarly-themed Shanghai Fortress, which featured Luhan, Shu Qi and Godfrey Gao in a quest to protect the human race from an alien invasion.
Sadly, many are saying that the road which started with The Wandering Earth may have ended with Shanghai Fortress. With the mounting of bad reviews, the movie has garnered a 3.3 Douban rating less than a week after its premiere on August 9. There were complaints about how the story was incoherent and harsh words criticizing the voice dubbing for being so awful that it could be mistaken for a pirated copy. With Luhan’s name attached to the project from the start as he was among the first casted, much of the flak has been thrown his way especially due to his background as a popular idol turned actor.
Teng Huatao, the director of Shanghai Fortress, has apologized for the movie’s poor performance. He admits that it was sad to see people commenting that Shanghai Fortress wasted the new life given by The Wandering Earth to Chinese science fiction, a genre that used to only have a niche market. He also says that it was his fault for not making everyone go that extra mile to make sure Shanghai Fortress would be successful. Teng Huatao thanked those who supported him without blame despite the negative feedback from the public. While he reveals that it was difficult to see the criticism Shanghai Fortress received, he chooses to take it as a lesson moving forward. He thanks the public for speaking their mind and hopes that Chinese science fiction would be better in the future.
Jiang Nan who famously wrote Novoland: Eagle Flag is also the author and screenwriter of Shanghai Fortress. He has extended his apologies to his fans who were disappointed with the movie. Nevertheless, he thanks everyone involved for their efforts and said that he will focus on writing novels for the time being but will not forget the lessons he learned.
While some netizens have blamed Luhan for ruining Shanghai Fortress, there are also Luhan supporters who have said that his acting was good and not to blame. Luhan took to Weibo to express his gratitude for the public’s words of encouragement and criticism.