It was Tommy Wiseau’s misguided “masterpiece” The Room that first brought the idea of movies “so bad, they’re good” into the mainstream.
Plenty have followed since, though as time has gone by these efforts have come a little too knowing for some people’s tastes. The Sharknado franchise, for example, are deliberately “so bad they’re good” allowing the filmmakers free rein to take things to the extreme on the cheap and with little in the way of critical repercussion.
To make movies that are truly “so bad, they’re good” you have to play it straight. No one involved should know they are making a deliberately bad movie, or at least should stay quiet about it and collect their pay-checks.
Thankfully, Tan Bing’s new film, China Salesman, appears to fall squarely into this category. It tells the story of a quick-witted Chinese telecom sales representative who uncovers a huge conspiracy during a trade mission in North Africa and finds himself forced to stop a major civil war as a result.
Seagal plays a legendary mercenary in the movie while Tyson is a gun-crazed army general. Huge departures for both, of course. Yet the biggest draw for audiences is likely to be the incredible eight-minute fight the pair enjoy.
It’s Tyson’s thunderous jabs versus the lighting fast reflexes of an increasingly disheveled-looking Seagal. It’s also a fight that proved tricky for the director.
Director Tan Bing had to work had to get both actors on board, according to an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, with the biggest stumbling being that epic eight-minute fight.
“Both wanted to be the winner of the fight,” Tan explained to THR. In the end a compromise was reached: the fight would end in a draw. Because apparently that can happen.
Tyson, who is relatively inexperienced in the world of film save for a few cameos playing himself, also required a schedule that saw the film shot chronologically – something largely unheard of in Hollywood. It wasn’t a problem for Tan though.
“It was a very special experience for him [Tyson], he was very moved by the process,” Tan explained.
The first full trailer for the movie, which features a lot of death and destruction alongside gratuitous nudity and violence, has already proven a hit, accumulating over 1.5 million views to date.
Though no UK release is in place, the film is likely to pique the interests of plenty of Tyson/Seagal fans and looks like a lot of fun, albeit nonsensical fun.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.