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Donnie Yen kicking ass on film is always cause for celebration. Yen may have been mired in some really awful vanity projects in his early Hong Kong film career, but he’s on a major streak of box office success (both domestically and internationally) in recent years, putting out some really good action projects like “Sha Po Lang” (or “Killzone” as it’s known internationally) and “Flash Point”. His latest was the period actioner “Ip Man”, another movie about a Chinese man battling Japanese occupation in China. Following “Ip Man”, Yen is set to star in “Chen Zhen”, where he will once again tangle with those Imperialist bastards.
In “Chen Zhen”, Yen will play a local resistance fighter in 1920s Shanghai. His character is believed dead after a bloody skirmish, only to resurface seven years later, just in time to uncover a plot involving the Chinese triads and the Japanese. Update: As noted in the comments section by reader Erick, the character “Chen Zhen” was also played by Jet Li in the 1994 actioner “Fist of Legend”, a movie I consider to be Jet Li’s best martial arts movie of all time. It was also the character first played by Bruce Lee in 1972’s “Fist of Fury”, the ending of which had Chen Zhen believed shot by the Japanese. Given the plot of Yen’s “Chen Zhen”, it certainly looks like this is a sequel to Lee’s “Fist of Fury”.
The film will be directed by Andrew Lau Wai-keung (“Infernal Affairs”), with Yen serving as star and action director.
Joining Yen will be the ubiquitous Anthony Wong and the lovely Shu Qi (below), who Western audiences may remember as the damsel in distress in the first “Transporter” movie. Gordon Chan wrote the script for Hong Kong’s Media Asia and China’s Shanghai Film Group.
Filming on the period action movie has begun, and will continue until February of 2010.
Updated: The full International title seems to be “The Legend of Chen Zhen”, which should save whoever ends up buying the movie the trouble of changing the title, as International buyers are wont to do when it comes to Hong Kong martial arts movie titles.