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Film / The Rookies

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Hold on a second, Milla Jovovich in a Chinese movie?

The Rookies is a 2019 Chinese action-comedy movie-slash-spy parody directed by Alan Yuen, starring Wang Ta-lu, Sandrine Pinna, and Milla Jovovich in her Chinese film debut.

Zhou Feng (Wang), an extreme sports lover, while attempting to film a viral stunt to be uploaded on Youtube, ends up accidentally crashing into a covert meeting of The Order of the Phantom Knighthood, a global peacekeeping organization who operates in secret. When elite agent Bruce (Milla) of the Knighthood considers Feng to have potential as an operative, Feng ends up becoming part of a team consisting of policewoman Miao, scientist Ding Shan and doctor LV. Before they knew it, these unlikely bunch of misfits will have to save the world from a madman and terrorist leader called Iron Fist (Not that one) who intends to release a deadly virus across the world.


Not to be confused with the TV series from the 70s.

This film contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Bruce, being played by Milla, although she only has two action scenes in the film. There's also policewoman Miao, who's recruited into the team together with Feng.
  • Actor Allusion: A film starring Milla Jovovich that involves a killer virus strain about to be unleashed on the world’s populace. Sounds familiar
  • Advertised Extra: Given that Milla is the only member of the cast that counts as a celebrity, understandably the movie’s poster, trailers and promotional materials will hype up her presence in this film. She’s actually the Deuteragonist of the picture.
  • All Is Well That Ends Well: Iron Fist has been defeated, the world is saved, and it's a happy ending for all our heroes... never mind the fact that most of New York's population has been turned into plants and there isn't a reversible cure for the Green Virus. Yay?
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  • Apocalypse How: Should Iron Fist succeed in unleashing the Green Virus across the world, the subsequent Depopulation Bomb turning most of human population into plants would lead to a Class-2 example, which Feng and the heroes have to thwart.
  • Body Horror: The effects of the Green Virus on humans, which causes their skin to sprout leaves, turn green, and their bodies to become stiff as they are forcefully turned into plants against their will. An early scene features several scientists subjected to this fate when the virus gets released on them.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Bruce.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Feng, in the opening scene, coincidentally crashing into a skyscraper's penthouse where the Knighthood's covert meeting is being held, after a stunt gone wrong, which ends up leading to his enlistment into the organization.
  • Doomsday Device: The Green Virus, coveted by Iron Fist’s syndicate to be unleashed across the world.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Halfway through the film, Bruce gets shot through the gut and is reduced to a semi-comatose vegetable unable to speak, spending much of the movie’s second half out of action. Don’t worry Milla fans, she gets better.
  • Eco-Terrorist: The villains of the movie, led by Iron Fist, who deems human population as "unpure" and "contamination of the world’s resources", which they intend to cull by unleashing the Green Virus into major cities worldwide turning most of the global population into plants.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Iron Fist, the Big Bad, is a man with an iron fist for his left hand.
  • Expy: Iron Fist to Dr. Claw, right down to mannerisms, physical deformity, and being the leader of a global crime syndicate.
  • Fantastic Recruitment Drive: This is how The Order of the Phantom Knighthood recruits their operatives, by selecting civilians deemed capable of their missions and sending them out without training.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: The Green Virus, genetically engineered to turn human beings into plant life.
  • Gender-Blender Name: Bruce, played by Milla Jovovich.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Iron Fist doesn't care if the entire world's population gets wiped out of existence, believing that he's doing earth a favour by saving the environment this way.
  • Once for Yes, Twice for No: When Bruce gets paralyzed and is unable to even speak, she communicates with Zhou Feng and the rest of the team using this method.
  • Pressure Point: By the end of the movie, Bruce is shown to have recovered from her paralysis, thanks to being subjected to Chinese acupuncture, where she communicates with Zhou Feng through video call while sprouting needles all over her face.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: A team that consists of Sports enthusiast Zhou Feng, an out-of-work police officer Miao, an amateur scientist Ding Shan and an unemployed doctor LV. With Bruce, the elite operative being the only capable member of the group.
  • Red Right Hand: Iron Fist’s mechanical left hand.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Bruce, the elite operative of The Order of the Phantom Knighthood, turns out to be played by Milla Jovovich.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: Bruce does this on her own character poster. Not a first for Milla.
  • Spider Tank: In the climactic chase scene, Zhou Feng discovers that the vehicle assigned to his team can sprout mechanical, AT-AT like legs from its underside. Cue vehicle chase in Budapest.
  • Throw-Away Country: The Green Virus is unleashed in the middle of New York, wiping out most of New York’s population… offscreen. Although there’s a scene showing multiple viral YouTube videos of innocent people getting taken over by the virus.
  • Transflormation: The effects of the Green Virus on humans. The entirety of New York gets forcefully transformed into plants after being exposed to the virus, and Iron Fist intends to do the same on major cities all over the world.
  • Unconventional Vehicle Chase: Between a Spider Tank and the Big Bad’s getaway vehicle.