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.



Teaser Trailer for Mulan Debuts at Cannes


I have to say that even prior to watching this teaser, I had a feeling Vicky Zhao Wei was a good choice for Mulan. Now that the first glimpse of her as the famous Chinese female warrior Mulan is upon us, I feel even more convinced she was the best choice for the part. I also really like the poster art as seen below.

Check out the trailer, which first debuted in Cannes, below:



Bruce Lee Returns to Blu-ray in June


This is as exciting as is gets for fans of martial arts movies. Marketing Interactive reports that Fortune Star, which owns the copyrights to a library of over 600 movies (mostly from Hong Kong), has struck a deal with Hong Kong based distributor Kam & Ronson to release a number of titles on Blu-ray.


More Bruce Lee coming to Blu-ray!

First on the release calendar are four beloved Bruce Lee movies: The Big Boss, The Way of the Dragon, Enter the Dragon and Fist of Fury. These titles are scheduled for a mid-June release and based on Kam & Ronson’s track record on Blu-ray so far, should have English subtitles.

We’re especially excited to hear that this seems to be a long-term arrangement that should help fuel the release of many more catalogue Hong Kong titles fans have been clamoring for. We’ve added the four new Blu-rays to our Release Dates section.

Source: Marketing Interactive



UPDATED: Jackie Chan Reveals Plans for 100th Movie; Unofficially Armour of God 3


UPDATE: According to the Xinjiang Daily, the recently announced 100th film starring Jackie Chan is actually part 3 of the beloved Armour of God series fans have been clamoring for for years. We don’t know if this was offcially announced, but we expect to learn more quite soon. Stay tuned.

Jackie Chan has revealed plans to film his 100th film, tentatively titled Chinese Zodiac. Chan will co-direct the picture with Stanley Tong, who collaborated with Chan on Rumble In The Bronx, Supercop and The Myth.

Chinese Zodiac also marks Chan’s return to the director’s chair since co-directing Who Am I? with Benny Chan 11 years ago.

The new movie will be produced by Emperor Dragon Movies with a budget of $32 million. No additional cast or story details have been announced at this time. However, according to Tong, Chan first approached him with a script about a globe-trotting treasure hunt six years ago.

Tong also mentioned that principal photography will start around September/October in various locations including Beijing, Hong Kong, France, Vienna and Kazakhstan.

Chan has just finished shooting the Chinese-language action road movie Big Soldier directed by Ding Sheng and plans to start work on Kung Fu Kid with Will Smith’s son Jaden Smith in June.

Source: ScreenDaily.com



First Trailer for Johnnie To's Vengeance Released


By now you will have heard of Johnnie To’s latest project starring French performer Johnny Haliday. A film about a French hitman forced to avenge his family in Hong Kong.

This trailer is pure To, showcasing some awesome gunplay and cinematography. All I can say is this trailer is, pardon my French, off the hook!

Check it out (watch for Anthony Wong and Sinon Yam, too):



John Woo's 1949 Cancelled


We can’t say this was a big surprise, given John Woo’s propensity to announce projects that later get let go, but since 1949 was well into pre-production, we had already started imagining the possibilities. Woo’s post-war drama was to star a notable cast including Chang Chen. Unfortunately, it is not to be. The film has been officially cancelled due to rights issues.



Jackie Chan's Big Plans for Big Soldier


After a short stint as a dramatic actor in The Shinjuku Incident, Jackie Chan is back in action in his latest big budget actioner. Chan has announced that the project will have a budget of $25 million.

Chan, who also produced and wrote the screenplay, will star alongside Lee Hom, previous unknown Lin Peng and South Korea’s Yoo Seung-Jun. Ding Sheng (Underdog Knight) will be directing.

“The film is set during the Warring States Period,” Chan revealed at a recent news conference. “I play a big soldier, and Lee Hom plays a junior soldier. It’s an action picture with black humor plus a bit of romance.”

The picture is being backed by Chan’s JCE, PolyBona, Xu Culture Media, Huacheng Media and My Younger Media-Television.



Sammo Hung and Donnie Yen to Face Off in Ip Man 2


The anticipated sequel to Ip Man is well under development, and among the many tidbits that have been released by the production team in recent weeks, one in particular stands out from the rest.

Fans of Donnie Yen’s SPL will be pleased to hear that Sammo Hung will be back in front of the camera (he was an action choreographer on the first Ip Man) for Ip Man 2, playing a Hung Gar master who will face off against Yen’s Wing Chun style.

Needless to say we’re more than excited at the prospect of these two heavyweights dishing it out in a one-on-one showdown once again. Hung had this to say at a recent press conference for the movie: “As boss didn’t pay me in the first, I wouldn’t appear in front of the screen. This time I’m getting paid, so I’ll be playing a role too.”

The sequel is set in 1949, and continues the story as Ip Man arrives in Hong Kong. Principal photography is slated to begin in August.



Video Promo for Bodyguards and Assassins Released


Undoubtedly one of the more exciting projects on the horizon is director Teddy Chan’s recently confirmed Bodyguards and Assassins. During a press conference at the Hong Kong One of Filmart, Chen revealed that a full scale replica of old Hong Kong, circa 1905, was being built in mainland China. We’ve since learned that the sets are well underway and that a promotional video was put together to showcase the sheer scale of the project. And let me just state the obvious right now: it looks amazing.

The all-star cast includes Donnie Yen (Gambler), Wang Xue Qi (Tycoon), Eric Tsang, (Police Man) Tony Leung Kar Fai (Revolutionary), Fan Bing Bing (Concubine), Wang Po-Chieh (Heir), Simon Yam (Fugitive), Hu Jun (Assassin),  Zhou Yun (Fiancee), Nicholas Tse (Rickshaw Man) and Leon Lai (Beggar). 

The film, produced in part by Warlords director Peter Chan, is set to begin production in April. 

Check out the promo below:



All-Star Cast to Appear in Historical Epic Bodyguards & Assassins


We had heard about director Teddy Chen’s pet project a while back now (previously titled Dark October). And while the concept behind it seemed very promising, the project had been in limbo for a very long time. Until now that is; we are happy to report that it looks like the film will finally get made.

Backed by upstart production company Cinema Popular as well as China Film Group and Shanghai Media Group, the historical epic will showcase a star-studded cast including Donnie Yen, Leon Lai, Nicholas Tse, Wang Xueqi, Hu Jun, Tong Leung Ka-fai, Eric Tsang, Simon Yam, Fan Bing-bing, Wang Po-chieh and Zhou Yun.

The film, now titled Bodyguards and Assassins, will tell the story behind an assassination attempt on the founder of modern China, Sun Yat-sen. The film’s $23 million budget has already been put to good use, as production teams have already begun building lavish sets outside Shanghai.

Started earlier this year, Cinema Popular is a joint venture between Peter Ho-sun Chan (Warlords) and Chinese filmmaker Huang Jianxin’s We Pictures and Beijing-based Polybona.

Chan believes that his newly formed company, which is investing around $73 million in 15 films over three years, will help overhaul the financing model for Hong Kong/China co-productions. Cinema Popular was created in response to the strong box office growth seen in mainland China today.



First Teaser for Jeffrey Lau's Kung Fu Cyborg


Ok, so I know teasers are meant to tease, but this is a bit much. Watch the clip below to know what I mean. 

Hong Kong director Jeffrey Lau (director of Stephen Chow’s Chinese Odyssey films) first announced his latest project with a blunt statement: if Michael Bay can do it, I can too! Well, he might not have put it exactly that way, but that is essentially the raison d’être for Kung Fu Cyborg.

Lau’s first foray into the kung fu sci-fi sub-genre will star Wu Jing (SPL, Fatal Contact). Although this teaser really doesn’t do it for me, I can’t help but feel intrigued by the promise of high-flying cyborg action, HK-style.

Here’s the teaser:



Chow Yun Fat Set to Play Confucius


Well, let me start by saying that I used to be a big Chow Yun Fat fan. Needless to say that in recent years, Chow has been in somewhat of a slump, and starring in mindless Hollywood vehicles like Bulletproof Monk and the upcoming Dragonball: Evolution (no, I’m not impressed by Chow’s Hawaiian shirt in this) doesn’t help. Don’t get me wrong, I think mindless action flicks can be fun, but to be honest, watching him in those roles is such a turn off. I mean c’mon, this is Chow Yun Fat, one of the greatest Asian screen actors ever.

But I digress. His latest project will see him in a much more important role, one in which we hope he manages to once again flex his real acting muscles. Starring as Confucius in a new government-backed biopic about the great Chinese philosopher, Chow will return to a Chinese production for the first time since Curse of the Golden Flower.


Ass-kicker turned philosopher

A joint venture between Beijing-based Dadi Cinema and the state-run China Film Group, the film will reportedly cost $22 million and will be directed by Chinese filmmaker Hu Mei. A company official at Dadi Cinema also revealed that shooting should begin in about three weeks.

We’re hopeful that Chow Yun Fat can do like his buddy John Woo and resurrect his career with a breakthrough return to Asian cinema. Come to think of it, Chow was supposed to star in the phenomenally successful Red Cliff movies before suddenly parting ways with Woo. That’s too bad, but like Confucius once said: “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” (No, I didn’t make that up just now.)