New Chinese thriller on juvenile crime sees a timely release

A new film entitled "Hovering Blade," which delves into juvenile crime, received high praise from the audience at its Beijing premiere on Friday for being "very educational."

style="text-align: left; margin-bottom: 15px;">Cast and crew of "Hovering Blade" pose for a group photo at the premiere in Beijing, May 10, 2024. [Photo courtesy of Timely Media]

The movie tells the story of a father out for revenge after his only daughter is murdered by a group of underage boys, which raises profound issues that are associated with juvenile crime cases. Directed by Chen Zhuo and starring Wang Qianyuan, Qi Xi and Wang Tianchen, the thriller is a Chinese adaptation of Japanese writer Keigo Higashino's novel "Samayou Yaiba."

But it is not merely a remake. At the premiere, director Chen shared his experience of researching and finding inspiration in juvenile detention centers, saying, "I saw many shocking cases in the juvenile detention centers that aren't reported in the news. Besides the psychological impact, I hope to bring introspection and reflection to everyone."

Through Chen's persistence and dedication, moviegoers are able to see a multifaceted juvenile crime case in "Hovering Blade" that is as realistic as possible. Screenwriter Yang Weiwei added that she is optimistic that the story provides a more intuitive and in-depth understanding of juvenile crime cases, adding that she hopes "that we will no longer hesitate or be confused in the future to prevent such tragedies from happening again."

Chinese veteran actor Wang Qianyuan's performance deeply impressed Friday's audience. During the premiere, he shared that, in order to depict the protagonist's distraught state after losing his daughter, he insisted on only sleeping 4 hours a day and didn't drink water for 4 consecutive days to achieve a state of dehydration. "I lost about 30 pounds after the shooting," Wang revealed, which left the audience in awe.

Wang Tianchen, who plays a police officer in the film, shared his thoughts on the film's heinous case and the importance of communication. "Communication is a very good way to solve problems," he said, candidly adding that parents should bear more responsibility for their children's actions.

The iQiyi-produced film, originally scheduled for release in 2021, was delayed until March 17, 2024, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and other issues. Prior to Chen's film adaptation, the 2004 novel has already been adapted for the silver screen with the production of works from both Japan and South Korea. Released in 2009 and 2014, respectively, both other movie adaptations received generally positive feedback. A six-episode Japanese TV series also aired in 2021.

The release of "Hovering Blade" is timely. Earlier this month, data released by the Supreme People's Court showed that Chinese courts heard 1,205 cases of organized disruption of public order involving minors last year, more than six times the number recorded in 2020. In addition, the top court confirmed a rapid growth of juvenile crimes in the first three months of this year, stating that about 12,000 juvenile criminals were punished from January to March, up 77.67% year-on-year. Ying Yong, the procurator-general of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, said recently that the fight against juvenile crime must be strengthened with improved supervision of emerging issues so that children can grow up in a healthier civil environment.