Owned by the PLA, Bayi has been pumping out a steady stream of military propaganda since the ’50s, starting with the 1952 classic, and tellingly titled, From Victory to Victory. Key scenes from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2010), including the rooftop chase, were also shot here.
Apart from Ming streets – an unspoken requirement for all sets – Bayi’s main draw is the war-torn WWII villages, trenches and vehicles found across various ‘battlefields’.
Ask the right person nicely, and you might see the yard housing dozens of well-preserved Japanese, Soviet and US tanks, cannons and civilian vehicles dating from WWI to the 1970s. These include two 1955 Soviet saloons, which reportedly once chauffeured Mao around, and have been used in numerous biopics.On any day, there’ll be a military drama filming, with uniformed actors adding to the atmosphere (often mingling with real officers inspecting the set). Or you can play dress-up yourself: there’s even equipment set aside for laser tag.One of Beijing’s most interesting films sets