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Blockbuster ‘Warriors of Future’ Is Just the Start of HK star Louis Koo’s Sci-fi Ambitions

Louis Koo stars as the leader of a combat team trying to save the world from a malevolent alien plant.
Louis Koo stars as the leader of a combat team trying to save the world from a malevolent alien plant.

Earth has been ravaged by pollution and disaster, and a fast-growing alien vine named Pandora has arrived to cause more lethal devastation. A combat squad swings into action, racing against time to try and prevent an apocalypse — that’s how the world looks in Warriors of Future .

This science fiction drama has been a labor of love for producer and lead actor Louis Koo, whose company One Cool Film started developing its script about eight years ago. When it was released in theatres in Hong Kong earlier this year, his passion project became the city’s highest-grossing Asian film of all time. With Warriors of Future slated for a global streaming release on Netflix on December 2, Koo shares more about why he was determined to create a sci-fi movie brought to life by a Hong Kong team, from concept to execution.

What got you interested in science fiction?

I’ve been watching sci-fi movies like Star Wars since I was a child. This genre is often about the future, and allows for more creative space.

Having watched so much sci-fi from Hollywood, I’ve always wanted to make Asian sci-fi. In Asia, we face the problem of knowledge about the technology it takes to make such movies. They also require a big capital investment.

When I started my production company almost 10 years ago, we came up with a 30-year plan to create a sci-fi universe. Warriors of Future is not the realization of my dream; it is just the first step.

What were some of the challenges of producing this movie?

We decided to make a large-scale ‘hard sci-fi’ movie \[‘hard sci-fi’ focuses more on specific scientific processes, while ‘soft sci-fi’ focuses more on the socio-political implications of technology on human relationships\].

Instead of relying on foreign expertise, we wanted to do everything ourselves, not just the story but also the computer-generated imagery (CGI). We spent a year on CGI work before we started shooting, and are so eager to show the world that our CGI techniques are top level and of an international standard. We believe by producing such a high-quality blockbuster, we are opening a new window for Asian motion pictures in the future. We spent three to four years working on the script, and I wanted the fast-paced rhythm of the plot to propel the storytelling.

This movie has over 1,900 CGI shots. For example, there is a battle scene that takes place on an elevated highway that is entirely CGI. We actually looked at all such highways in Hong Kong, but we couldn’t find one that was long enough for the needs of the scene. We wanted the actors to understand how the sequence would look after all the effects were put in, so we created an animated version of it to show them so they could picture it better. Working with CGI requires a lot of such prep work. I learned a lot from this experience, and that made me very happy. What’s next in your sci-fi plan?

My production company is working on our next sci-fi film, which will be set in space. Since there is no gravity, we have to use new techniques for shooting.

We haven’t decided whether to create a sequel to Warriors of Future , but we will be making a prequel that sheds more light on the backstory of some characters.

I am glad that Warriors of Future has been recognized by many as an iconic Hong Kong sci-fi film and that Netflix will show the world that Hong Kong also has what it takes to create high-caliber CGI.

Warriors of Future streams globally only on Netflix from December 2.


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