Having just been released in China yesterday (January 8th), The Grandmaster, which is based on wing chun master Yip Man – portrayed by Donnie Yen in the Ip Man movies and with a third installment ready to be shot in March this year – and starring top-class actor Tony Leung Chiu Wai (Bullet in the Head, Hard Boiled, Infernal Affairs), is set to impress and attract audiences (especially martial arts movie fans) around the world. Read reviews below.
Contemporary action/crime films in Hong Kong seems to be making a big comeback. Evident is the release of two anticipated films this year. First up is Sunny Lok and Longmond Leung’s bud-budgeted Cold War featuring a cast of huge stars. It includes Andy Lau, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Aaron Kwok, Charlie Yeung and Gordon Lam. Next up is film maestro Johnnie To’s Mainland-financed Drug War starring Louis Koo, Sun Hong-Lei, Crystal Huang Yi, Michelle Ye and Lam Suet.
More info on both films here:
After working on eleven period action films in a time period of just five years, Donnie Yen is ready to go back to what he does best and made his name: modern action films. Donnie – who is currently in New York to attend special showings of his films Iron Monkey, SPL, The Lost Bladesman and Wu Xia – was also present for interviews and Q&As and revealed this relieving news to fans.
Donnie also stated that not only will he be the lead actor in these future projects but he will also start to produce his own films through his production company Bullet Films – the company he formed when directing Legend of the Wolf and Ballistic Kiss in the late 1990s. In the meantime, there’s Donnie next film Special Identity (post-production has gone on for two months now) gearing up to be released later this year so stay tuned for more news and trailers for that one.
Jet Li – who recently appeared in Tsui Hark’s 3D feast Flying Swords of Dragon Gate – will next star in a new action comedy directed by Wang Zi Ming, written by Charcoal Tan (Once Upon a Time in China 2 and 3), and produced by Chui Bo-Chu (Kung Fu Hustle, Fearless).
Apart from Li, the film co-stars Wen Zhang, Liu Shi Shi, Lin Shuang, Liu Yan, Chen Yan Xi, Tian Liang as well as action favorites Collin Chou (The Matrix sequels, Flash Point, The Forbidden Kingdom) and Wu Jing (SPL). Corey Yuen will handle action choreography duties and the film – which started shooting this month – is expected to be out this December.
Vincent Zhao – who is currently busy promoting his new martial arts actioner Wu Dang co-starring Yang Mi, Fan-Siu-Wong (Ip Man), Dennis To (Ip Man 2, Legend Is Born – Ip Man) and Xu Jiao (CJ7) – was recently present at a press conference for the film and went as far as saying that he hasn’t given up on collaborating with Donnie Yen but will let fate decide if that opportunity rises again.
Quite strange don’t y’all think? Especially coming from someone who took it out to the media to take jabs at someone else with unproven facts and people riding along, and reclaiming his professionalism. Oh well, let’s see how fate does this one…
Mtime has released new BTS stills of the film. There’s no release date yet but it’s estimated to be out during late fall or early winter this year.
Things looks to have been neutralized as both Donnie Yen and Vincent Zhao are very busy doing promotion and shooting their respective projects – Donnie currently shooting a romance film titled Together starring Bosco Lam and Michelle Chan and Vincent promoting the upcoming kung fu drama Wu Dang. Last that happened was that Mainland director Tan Bing came out on April 6 and spoke out about Donnie’s unfaithful work ethics and arrogant behavior which further caused heat between the Yen and Zhao camps. Neither Donnie nor the production team have responded to Bing’s actions.
Despite this, there have been lots of news reports and press conferences concerning the scandal that I’ve missed out due to limited resources (such as lack of people transcribing and translating information in Chinese, and getting translations that are too sloppy to understand). One of these news reports is one covering events during the filming process through the eyes and experiences of Mainland actor Hung Bao – who was in the original cast of Special Identity playing Vincent Zhao’s main henchman (check out my earlier post here: http://ericjacobus.com/2012/04/19/special-identity-more-trouble-stills-of-vincent-zhaos-intended-role/).
However, it’s not the case of another actor pointing all fingers on Donnie to blame for the problems that arose during shooting. Hung Bao clarifies rumors on Vincent acting arrogant and being accompanied by an entourage, how things were when Vincent was around the set and how it was working with him, working relations with him and Donnie, dispute between two drivers on the set (which led to the murder of one of them), and reveals that there was someone that was a big influence on and eventually was the reason for the script changes (although it was not mentioned) and that this fact came from a person (a friend of Hung Bao and also someone not mentioned) who was involved in the film crew.
What seems to be words from news reports actually turns out to be a total misunderstanding. This is what Jackie had to say on his Facebook page when he heard about the news:
Hello all my friends and fans,
Yesterday in my press conference in Cannes for Chinese 12 Zodiac I said that this movie was my last big action movie.
Today I was shocked when I woke up to read all the news coverage that I was retiring from doing Action movies.
I just want to let everyone know that I am not retiring from doing action movies. What I meant to say is that I need to do less of the life risking stunts on my movies. After all these years of doing so many stunts and breaking so many bones, I need to take better care of my body so I can keep working.
I will continue to do international action movies.
And I will keep improving my English 🙂
I love all of you!
Here’s a new trailer to Jackie Chan’s final action film, which was produced in preparation for the Cannes Film Festival.