Over the weekend, American Film Market buyers were treated to a rare opportunity on the auction block: a movie featuring not one but two sexual assaulting brawlers decades past their prime. The film up for grabs was China Salesman, and as you can see in the trailer above, its action is only slightly more exhilarating than its title.
That preview actually hit the web a few months ago, but it’s only with the AFM screening that some new, hilariously terrible details have emerged about China Salesman.
Firstly, there’s the premise of the film. Director Tan Bing apparently says it’s based on a true story, though given the details, it is almost certainly not. As described by The Hollywood Reporter, China Salesman‘s elevator pitch involves “a supercharged plot about a humble Chinese cellphone salesman who somehow averts a civil war in Africa, featuring explosions, bazookas, tanks and an eight-minute fight sequence between the action heavyweights.”
And here’s the thing about that eight-minute sequence between the aforementioned action heavyweights: neither Tyson nor Seagal was willing to lose to the other. Tan had to make multiple trips to the U.S. to convince them to form this completely arbitrary pairing, and the only way he got them to agree was by convincing them the battle ends in a draw. (According to THR, it doesn’t, so one of these guys got duped.) But it’s a different bit of behind-the-scenes trivia that is undoubtedly the best thing about China Salesman.
Talking about the film’s production, Tan explained that he shot the movie chronologically. That’s a rare feat, often only attempted in order to draw natural responses from young actors. (E.T., The Shining, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe are some notable examples.) In this case, it was apparently done so that “Iron” Mike could understand what was going on.
“It was a very special experience for [Tyson]; he was very moved by the [incredibly simplified] process,” Tan added. So if Mike Tyson cries in this thing, you’d better believe those are real tears—like those a child would shed for a grotesque, tan alien, who in this case is Steven Seagal.