Yang Fengliang Release date1989 (1989)
Codename Cougar (also known as Codename: Cougar, Operation Cougar or The Puma Action) is a 1989 Chinese thriller film. It was co-directed by Zhang Yimou and Yang Fengliang. Unlike the bulk of Zhang's early works (ranging from 1986's Red Sorghum to 1995's Shanghai Triad), which were all historical pieces, Codename Cougar is a modern thriller involving a skyjacked airliner and political intrigue.
The film was made as a private investment by a friend of Zhang, but parts of their initial ideas were censored by the Chinese authorities. In the end, the film broke even but earned no profits. Zhang called it "a purely commercial gun chase film".
The film follows a commercial airliner on a routine flight between Taipei and Seoul that is hijacked and taken to mainland China by the fictional Taiwan Revolutionary Army Front. Communist authorities cannot seize the plane because of the presence of an important business figure on the flight, and agree to cooperate discreetly with Taiwanese authorities to defuse an already tense situation.
The film is generally considered a failure or a footnote to Zhang's general oeuvre; Time referred to the film as Zhang Yimou's last "purely frivolous work."