Archive for the ‘Hong Kong/China’ Category

First Teaser for Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen

It appears Donnie Yen can do no harm in his new role as today’s premiere Asian action star (except maybe in the films themselves where he does do quite some harm to his enemies). Yen will try to follow up the current success of Ip Man 2 by stepping into some pretty big shoes.

Previously played by Bruce Lee in Fist of Fury and Jet Li in Fist of Legend, the role of Chen Zhen is being redefined in Andrew Lau’s Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (精武風雲.陳真). Produced and scripted by Gordan Chan (director of Jet Li’s aforementioned Fist of Legend), the spiritual sequel also stars Shu Qi, Anthony Wong and Huang Bo.

While some of the initial production shots of this movie seemed somewhat off-putting to some degree (with Donnie Yen sporting a well trimmed ’stache of all things), this first teaser trailer really shows a lot of potential for what seemed to be a risky concept–one that has our titular protagonist looking like a superhero. On the other hand, what isn’t risky is having Yen kick a ton of ass, which from the looks of it will be a recurring theme in this one too!

Official synopsis:

While China is traumatized by military cliques during the Warlord Era in the 1920s, Shanghai is the cynosure of all eyes. People see it as both Hell’s Kitchen and Heaven’s Gate. One of the city’s most memorable heroes has to be Chen Zhen, who single-handedly avenges his mentor’s death by killing all the Japanese at a dojo in Honkou, only to be showered with bullets while making his legendary flying kick. Vanished from the public eye ever since, he has taken for dead though his body is never found.

Seven years later, a wealthy entrepreneur called Koo returns from abroad and makes a grand entrance on the Shanghai social scene by befriending the notorious mafia boss of the city. This mysterious man is none other then Chen Zhen in disguise who dwells in a world of nefarious means in order to infiltrate the criminal empire. He soon discovers a clandestine collusion between the mafia and the Japanese.

Disguised as a caped crusader at night, Chen sets out to dismantle with his martial arts skill the evil collusion that plaques the country. One of his foremost missions is to ferret out the assassination list prepared by the Japanese.

Check out the trailer:



The Saga Continues in Ong Bak 3: Full Trailer Inside

No one can say Tony Jaa is not game. This guy puts it on the line physically (mentally too as suppose) as much as any action star ever has. It dosn’t look like Ong Bak 3 will be an exception to that rule. And based on the new trailer, fans will see plenty more crazy stunts and ass kickery in the conclusion of the Ong Bak trilogy.

Check out the trailer below:



More Mind-Numbing Action in the New Ip Man 2 Trailer

Well, I can’t say my expectations weren’t high for this one but based on this new  railer, April 29th (HK theatrical release) is going to be a great day for martial arts film fans.

No need to spoil the fun with extra words. I’ll just let Donnie Yen’s hands and feet do the talking:



First Teaser Trailer for Fire of Conscience Starring Leon Lai

2009’s The Beast Stalker by Dante Lam was a killer action movie that took many of us by surprise. But after both critical acclaim and commercial success for that thriller, expectations are high for his latest cops and robbers extravaganza starring Leon Lai and Ritchie Jen.

Official synopsis: The investigation of a prostitute homicide brings headstrong, heavy-handed Detective Manfred in an unlikely collaboration with sly, man-of-the-world Inspector Kee from the Narcotics Bureau. When the DNA samples of one of Manfred’s fellow officers are found at the crime scene, implicating him as the prime suspect, Manfred must look beyond the obvious to get to the truth. Meanwhile, Kee’s uncanny eagerness to lend a helping hand every step of the way outside his own turf is beginning to smack of evil. In the line of fire between high levels of corruption and possible malice, Manfred must solve all the twists and turns of the mystery, trying to figure out who his enemy is and how to save his innocent partner from unfathomable disgrace. Unwittingly, he is about to open a Pandora’s Box that will threaten to upend the entire Hong Kong Police Force.

Check out the action-packed teaser trailer below:



Ip Man 2 Teaser Trailer Hits the Web

For those of you living in a cave not equipped with an Internet connection for the last couple of years, this one has probably been on your radar for a while. The first Ip Man was a tour de force that propelled Donnie Yen into an elite category of action star. With the early annoucement of a sequel following its success and the promise of an on-screen rematch between Yen and Sammo Hung (who directed the action in the first Ip Man and fought with Yen in the memorable final scene in SPL), this one is easily one of the most anticipated films of the year.

So now we finally get a teaser trailer, and boy those it do a good job of setting the stage for an eventual full trailer and the movie itself. Featuring an excessively original staging of what looks like a tournament-style showdown between kung fu masters and a satisfying coolness to Yen’s Ip Man, this trailer has our appetites fully whet.

Check out the trailer below:



UPDATED: Blu-ray Wish List: John Woo's The Killer

UPDATE: This is exciting news indeed for all fans of Hong Kong cinema: John Woo’s seminal work The Killer will be hitting blu-ray on March 30 courtesy of Vivendi and their Dragon Dinasty label. Let’s hope this one lives up to the high expectations out there!

It’s been a while since I wrote a Blu-ray wish list feature, but as we commence this new year, I felt compelled today to revisit it simply because of the wonder and hope that it brings me when I start pondering the idea of seeing some of my favorite movies on high definition.

As I began to narrow my list of films for this article, I started looking for seminal works that could potentially help usher in a new wave of releases for Asian films on Blu-ray. I did not have to look very hard. In my previous Wish List article, I referenced a classic film that stood at the top of the Asian crime genre, a film so influential that it helped define the rules for countless action films (and video games) that followed–not to mention turning a director and actor pair into pop culture phenomena of their own.

That movie is John Woo’s The Killer.

Released in 1989, the Chow Yun Fat vehicle is today one of the greatest and most beloved action movies of all-time. But the film is not just about the creativity of its bullet ballets and inspired action set-pieces, it is also a labor of love, and it is that sense of dedication and artistry that permeates every frame. Each shot is crafted to perfection and each movement coordinated with a purpose. This is the kind of film I want to see on Blu-ray.

Blu-ray Release Prospects: Average -> It is hard to imagine a film of this stature not get some kind of 20th anniversary treatment on home video, and it is this fact that gives me the most hope for a Blu-ray version to be released in 2009. Not to mention the fact that John Woo has just successfully resurrected his ailing career with the Red Cliff movies. Of course, I could be totally wrong, and the suits making these kinds of decisions may pass on the idea–but that, to put it bluntly, would be a killer mistake.

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Blu-ray Wish List Explained: It’s fair to say that at this junction in the growth of Blu-ray, the slow trickle of new Asian Blu-ray releases can sometimes feel unbearably slow. But as we begin to see a trend towards day-and-date DVD and Blu-ray release dates (or close to it) for new movies, we can start to find great new titles like Warlords and Red Cliff getting the HD treatment. In our Wish List feature, our aim is to shine a light on upcoming theatrical releases or noteworthy catalogue titles that we think would rock on Blu-ray. And we also provide a score on a scale of 1 to 4 (Poor > Average > Good > Excellent) to give our opinion on the chances of that movie actually making it to Blu-ray.

What is on your Asian Blu-ray Wish List? Drop us a line or comment and tell us about it. The more buzz and demand we put out, the easier the decision to release these titles on Blu-ray becomes for the movie companies involved.



Summer Hiatus Over... Fortune Star's Legendary Collections All Covered

So it’s been a long summer of false starts and disappointments. Asian blu-ray releases were few and far between. In a way , I’m happy I took a break during this down time, because it looks like things are starting to pick up real quick. Chief among the companies trying to make some waves is Fortune Star (with the help of Kam & Ronson), which announced in May that it would be releasing the Police Story trilogy, the Once Upon a Time trilogy, and a quartet of Bruce Lee classics this past July.

Of course, as many of you probably know, only The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Police Story, and Once Upon a Time in China have been released so far. But the good news is, although we do not have any release dates for the remaining titles, we do have some cover art scanned from an insert/booklet included with a copy of the Police Story blu-ray (apparently, not all copies contain this insert–we’ll investigate further).

Let’s hope the wait isn’t too long for the rest of these!

Check it out:



Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li Delayed by Fortune Star Until Mid-July?

Okay, so June came and went with a whimper and those of you who’ve been following the Hong Kong blu-ray scene know that was not supposed to happen.

As we reported in late May, Fortune Star and Kam & Ronson announced that they were joining forces to release a slew of blockbuster catalogue titles this June. The list? How about: Bruce Lee’s The Big Boss, The Way of the Dragon, Enter the Dragon and Fist of Fury. Jackie Chan’s Police Story Trilogy. And Jet Li’s Once Upon a Time in China Trilogy.

So what happened? No one’s really telling, but more importantly, when is it coming out? For the first time, a source privy to the proceedings stated that Fortune Star has pushed back the titles until Mid-July. Is this set in stone? Well, this is really just a timeframe rather than a fixed date. Besides, based on the track record for Hong Kong releases in general, let’s not hold are breathes just yet. On the other hand, it certainly makes us feel better about the prospect of seeing these movies on blu-ray sometime this summer.

We’ll keep you posted.



Teaser for Yuen Woo-ping's True Legend

Yuen Woo-ping needs no introduction around these parts, and likewise, any project he’s attached to is awaited with a high level of anticipation. Hi latest project sees him returning to the director’s chair for the first time in a long time to direct a period actioner entitled True Legend, in which Vincent Chiu (The Blade) will portray legendary martial arts folk hero Su Qi-er–aka Beggar Su.

The picture will also star Michelle Yeoh, Jay Chou, Andy On, Cung Le, Conan Stevens, and the late David Carradine.

Based on this first teaser, which is mixed with film footage and behind-the-scenes footage, this one should be an action-packed ride.

Check out the teaser below:



First Trailer for The Storm Warriors

As far as Asian movies are concerned, it doen’t get much bigger than The Storm Warriors–the pseudo-sequel to the now decade-old The Storm Riders. Returning to their starring roles are Aaron Kwok and Ekin Cheng, who will be joined by an impressive cast of supporting actors including Charlene Choi, Nicholas Tse, Lam Suet,  and the alway excellent Simon Yam.

Directed by the Pang brothers (The Eye, Bangkok Dangerous), the picture is scheduled for release in December 17, 2009 in Hong Kong.

Check it out:



Police Story and Once Upon A Time In China Trilogies Headed for Blu-ray

As excited as we were to hear about the June release of a quartet of Bruce Lee movies on blu-ray from Fortune Star/Kam & Ronson, we are even more thrilled today to report on what may be the biggest Hong Kong blu-ray releases of the year.

According to The Hollywood Reporter and other news sources, Fortune Star intends to release both the Police Story and Once Upon a Time in China trilogies in June. Yes, you read that right. These are arguably the seminal works for both Jackie Chan and Jet Li, and without a doubt some of the most sought after Chinese blu-ray titles since the inception of the hi-def format.


Jackie Chan’s Police Story and Jet Li’s Once
Upon a Time in China headed for blu-ray!

Actually, we’re not sure how we (and other blu-ray resource websites) missed this little tidbit, since a press release with this information seems to have been circulating through the news wires since May 15. But it also looks like two versions of that press release may have been used; one with the mention of these titles and one without. Hence the confusion.

So in summary, two of the all-time favorite martial arts trilogies are coming to blu-ray in less than 30 days! It’s important to note that the distributor has yet to reveal specific release dates for these titles or any specs and features. It will also be interesting to see if they decide to release these films as box-sets only or if we’ll be able to buy them individually.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter



Blu-ray Wish List: Police Story Trilogy

UPDATE: Okay, that was fast. Just one day after I published this article, we find out that Police Story is coming to blu-ray in June!

As some of you may have already heard, Fortune Star has recently entered into an agreement with Kam & Ronson to release a number of movies on the Blu-ray format. The good news is that they have already revealed plans to release four Bruce Lee movies under the deal, and the even better news is that those four should mark just the beginning of their efforts to expand their Blu-ray footprint. Since Hong Kong-based Fortune Star owns the rights to over 600 movies (most of which they’ve already released on DVD), much speculation has started floating around about their next big catalogue releases.

 
Police Story headed for Blu-ray?

For me, one movie (or rather trilogy) comes to mind above all others in contention: Jackie Chan’s Police Story (and no, I don’t include First Strike or New Police Story in here, are you kidding?). Released as a trilogy box-set by Fortune Star/IVL back in 2004, these films stand as a reminder of the sheer determination and creativity of an action superstar in his prime.

I grew up watching these movies and always take pleasure in revisiting them every year. But over the years, something always kept me from enjoying them to the fullest extent: the audio/visual presentations. I’ve owned many versions of these movies–from cassette tape to DVD–but these transfers always left me cold. And while Fortune Star’s “Digitally Remastered” 2004 effort was commendable, it still fell short of my expectations. At some level, I guess I always wanted to have these films in the most integral presentation possible–short of owning an original film print.

Blu-ray Release Prospects: Excellent -> With the advent of high definition, I knew it was only going to be a matter of time. With the prospect of Fortune Star and Kam & Ronson looking to invigorate their position in the Blu-ray marketplace, I feel confident my wishes are about to come true.

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Blu-ray Wish List Explained: In our Wish List feature, our aim is to shine a light on upcoming theatrical releases or noteworthy catalogue titles that we think would rock on Blu-ray. And we also provide a score on a scale of 1 to 4 (Poor > Average > Good > Excellent) to give our opinion on the chances of that movie actually making it to Blu-ray.

What is on your Asian Blu-ray Wish List? Drop us a line or comment and tell us about it. The more buzz and demand we put out, the easier the decision to release these titles on Blu-ray becomes for the movie companies involved.