Friday, September 14, 2007

Kungfu stars have aligned

To your left Jet, Jackie and Woo-Ping

The Kungfu movie stars have aligned just right for the first time Jet Li and Jackie Chan are working together on a film. At first I was skeptical about the project that despite being filmed in china was going to be written and director by Americans and in English language. The writer is talented having written John Fusco (Young Guns -which is not great movie but could have been worse) and Directed by Rob Minkoff who directed the Lion King and Stuart Little. Say what you will about those kid movies they were well made kids movies. Most important is Yuen Woo-Ping directing the action.

He should have just directed the movie, the man has made some brilliant films as a director – two of my favorites being Iron Monkey and Tai-Chi Master.

Woo-Ping and Jet Li working together always has fantastic results, Fist of Legend was some of the best onscreen fights ever(by anybody), Tai-Chi master over the top like no other Kungfu Comedy and recent fights in Unleashed and Fearless are some of the best in Li’s career. Jackie Chan and Jet fighting on screen should be interesting although I have to admit that It pales to onscreen matches between Jet Li and Donnie Yen(Hero and Once Upon a Time in China II)

The film is called Forbidden Kingdom and has an American kid falling through some kind ring/closet type thing into the story of the Monkey King(AKA 15th century Chinese classic novel Journey to the west). This story is one of the most important mythologies in Chinese literature and pop culture there just is no Western equivalent. Part Lord of the rings, part Mark Twain the Monkey King is more than just a classic to the Chinese.

As the owner of over Twenty Jet Li DVDs I am a devoted fan to his work more so than any other actor working in the world. I’m not the biggest Jackie Chan fan but I am excited about this project even a little more than I am for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Not that anyone cares but I paid homage to the Monkey King tale in my first novel Hunting the Moon Tribe. The story of the Monkey King is so important to Chinese mythology I just didn’t think I could avoid it. It’s that important. Films have been done based this book (several hundred years old) mostly notably when Stephen Chow of Kung Fu Hustle fame starred in a 1994 production titled Chinese odyssey which had several sequels.

Let’s hope they get it right.

1 comment:

David Agranoff said...

My friend Lisa Morton sent me this e-mail...She wrote a book about Chinese director Tusi Hark...

Hey David:

Yes, I'm very interested in this, too. I don't know if you know this or not, but a film of JOURNEY TO THE WEST is Tsui Hark's life-long dream project. He announced it as a forthcoming film as early as 1984, and when I met with him in 2000 he was talking about doing it again (with Leslie Cheung as Monkey King - how great would THAT have been?!).

Obviously this will movie undoubtedly end up having very little to do with the true JOURNEY TO THE WEST, but I'm still dying to see it! Like you, I'm more a fan of Jet Li than Jackie (for one thing I think Jet's actually the better actor), but the opportunity to see the two of them together at last is just too great. And with Wo-ping along for the ride...? Boy, sell me a ticket now!

Thanks for the heads-up.