The Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force video opens with a time-lapse clip showing H-6 strategic bombers being prepared for takeoff by their ground crews. Emotional piano music swells in the background. Soon the planes are flying over parts of the Chinese countryside, their shadows racing over people going about their day. The music gets faster and louder as a hand presses a button on a control panel, launching a missile that spirals toward its target, which is…
Needless to say, China did not launch an airstrike against the infamous former prison in San Francisco Bay that once housed criminal legends like Al Capone. The explosion scene in the PLAAF propaganda video posted Sept. 19 on YouTube comes from the 1996 blockbuster “The Rock,” with Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery.
The scene can be found at 1:13 in the PLAAF video. In the movie, an F-18 fighter has just dropped a bomb by accident and climbed out of the frame – this is the point where the PLAAF video starts the clip. The scene can also be compared with a real satellite image of Alcatraz.
This isn’t the only example of “Bayhem,” slang for big explosions associated with director Michael Bay’s filmmaking style, in the PLAAF video.
The Drive website reported that the PLAAF film also used clips from another Bay film, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” Another scene came from the 2009 Academy Award Best Picture winner “The Hurt Locker.” According to The Drive, the base being targeted in the PLAAF video is Andersen Air Force Base on Guam.
It’s not unusual to find scenes from movies or even video games in state propaganda films. For example, in 2011, a Chinese state news video tried to pass off a scene from the 1986 film “Top Gun” as real footage of a PLAAF J-10 fighter destroying an enemy plane.
In 2018, Polygraph.info found that a Turkish news broadcast tried to pass off footage from a video game as real combat footage of a Turkish army sniper killing PKK (Kurdish Worker’s Party) insurgents. The same video had been used by other countries’ state media as well. For example, an Iranian state TV broadcast tried to claim it was a Hezbollah sniper shooting ISIS fighters.
In 2017, the Russian Defense Ministry showed a video that supposedly proved the U.S. was helping ISIS fighters. In fact, the footage came from a video game called “AC-130 Gunship Simulator.” Earlier, in 2015, Russia’s proxies in Ukraine’s Donbas region claimed they found a portable surface-to-air missile launcher that had been provided to the Ukrainian military by the U.S. It was quickly determined to be an image from the popular video game, “Battlefield 3.”