Sure, the title may not sound like it’s got buckets of martial arts fun waiting for you (“Garnet on the Golden Sand”???), but consider the director involved: Yuen Woo-ping. Westerners will know him as the guy who made the martial arts in Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” and the Wachowskis’ “Matrix” movies look credible, while Asian film enthusiasts will know him more as the man behind such kung fu kickassery as “Drunken Master”, “Iron Monkey”, and Stephen Chow’s “Kung Fu Hustle”. Now the legendary director is set to direct the American-Hong Kong co-production “Garnet on the Golden Sand”.
So what’s the deal with this not-very-kung-fu sounding “Garnet on the Golden Sand”? Written by Jun Tan, the film is set in the 17th century, and follows a European merchant and two Chinese swordsmen who are recruited by the leader of a prosperous trade town along the Silk Road to fight off a notorious desert raider. Much wireworks and kung fu action ensue.
The film will be a co-production between Woo-ping’s Hong Kong-based FilmCan Production and the L.A.-based Ambush Entertainment. Shooting is expected to commence next Summer in China.
Yuen Woo-ping was prolific in the ’80s and ’90s as a director, but he almost stopped directing completely after 1996’s kung fu sequel “Iron Monkey 2”. He’s worked almost exclusively as an action choreographer since on Hong Kong films and those aforementioned Hollywood movies, to name just a few. He has returned to the feature film directing fold with 2009’s upcoming “True Legend”, and now you can add “Garnet on the Golden Sand” to that list.