Cliff Walkers: Zhang Yimou's First Spy Thriller Gets New Trailer

CMC Pictures has released the official English trailer for director Zhang Yimou's (Raise the Red Lantern, The Great Wall, Shadow) historical spy thriller Cliff Walkers, which will be released in the U.S. and Chinese theaters on April 30, 2021. Cliff Walkers follows four Chinese special agents who embark on a secret mission in the 1930s puppet state of Manchukuo. After being sold out by a traitor, the team finds themselves surrounded by threats on all sides in a race against time. Cliff Walkers stars Zhang Yi (Operation Red Sea), Yu Hewei (I Am Not Madame Bovary), Qin Hailu (The Pluto Moment), and Zhu Yawen (The Captain, The Witness).

A shot of Zhang Yi in Cliff Walkers, courtesy of CMC Pictures.
A shot of Zhang Yi in Cliff Walkers, courtesy of CMC Pictures.

While Cliff Walkers marks acclaimed director Zhang Yimou's first foray into the spy genre, Yimou has amassed international acclaim and multiple Oscar nominations over his more than 40-year-long career. His 1990 film Ju Dou was the first-ever Chinese film nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and his 2002 martial arts film Hero starring Jet Li debuted at #1 at the U.S. box office upon release and was also nominated for Best Foreign Language Film. Yimou also directed the spectacular opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and lavish production of the Italian opera Turandot. More recently, he helmed the action blockbuster The Great Wall starring Matt Damon. While the Legendary Pictures blockbuster was criticized by some viewers for pushing a white hero with a "white savior" narrative, it still had more authentic Chinese detail in its nuances than the recent Disney live-action remake of Mulan. In fact, Mulan was so widely panned in China that it prompted a critical reappraisal of The Great Wall. It's still considered visually spectacular and more authentic than Mulan. Cliff Walkers has Zhang drawing on the "men in trenchcoats with guns" noir imagery of French director Jean-Pierre Melville for his first spy noir thriller.

Zhang's most recent U.S. release was the critically acclaimed fan favorite, SHADOWFrom his nuanced dramas exploring Chinese culture and history to his high-budget martial arts films, the director has received consistent praise for his use of vivid color, striking cinematography, and balance of epic storytelling and personal stakes.

Poster for the film Cliff Walkers, courtesy of CMC Pictures.
Poster for the film Cliff Walkers, courtesy of CMC Pictures.

Cliff Walkers will open in theatres in the U.S. on April 30th, 2021.

About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist who just likes to writer. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.