Briefly: There has been a crazy amount of speculation about the cast of The Expendables 2, which will shoot soon. Given that the original film isn’t exactly beloved, that speculation goes to prove that the concept of putting aging action stars together into a ‘one last mission’-type picture is enough to ignite significant public interest.

We still don’t know what new talents might be joining the sequel, but Deadline reports that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis have now closed deals to take substantial roles in the film. Both had parts in the original, but neither amounted to more than a cameo. Simon West will direct the sequel in October, and Jason Statham, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Terry Crews and Jet Li are all likely to return alongside Sylvester Stallone. Moviehole reported over the weekend that Jean-Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, and Scott Adkins are all confirmed, based on a leaked cast list, but those names are not confirmed at this point. Donnie Yen, also rumored, is yet to be confirmed as well.

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The recent story that Donnie Yen has been offered a part in The Expendables 2 is starting to make a bit more sense. Not that it takes any sort of science to figure out why producers would try to land one of the world’s best current action stars for a film that is expressly designed as a showcase for such actors, mind you.

But there’s a new detail that changes the context just a bit. As financier Nu Image seeks to maximize profit in the booming Chinese movie market, the company is now in talks with a Chinese company to co-finance the film. That would lead to two things. First, some of the film would be shot in China. Second, the rules restricting revenue sharing from imported films wouldn’t apply to The Expendables 2, so Nu Image would be able to collect a lot more of the profit made in the country. Read More »

Here’s something that’ll get me into the theater for The Expendables 2 right quick, if it pans out: Donnie Yen, one of the current champion fighters on film, has been offered a role in The Expendables 2. That’s according to Twitch, which says that producer Avi Lerner offered Yen a “tailor-made” role in the film, which should shoot in October. Yen’s own people confirmed the offer, but didn’t give any indication of whether he’s likely to take it. Read More »

If you were on the fence about whether or not to see Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen, watching the clip below will cost you 12 bucks. Opening limited this weekend, the epic Hong Kong action film starring the legendary Donnie Yen is about a thought-to-be-dead World War I hero who assumes another’s identity and ends up becoming a masked vigilante. Having seen the film at last year’s Fantastic Fest, I’ll say that it’s most certainly fun, but never reaches its true potential. Actually, the scene that’s embedded below, from the beginning of the movie, is the highlight. Read More »

From Andrew Lau, the director of Infernal Affairs (which was remade into Best Picture winner The Departed), comes a brand new martial epic starring the legendary Donnie Yen. Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen is set to open April 22 and features pretty much anything you’d want in a martial arts film: huge battles and fast action wrapped around a period war story about mistaken identity and national pride. Read a mini-review of the film, the plot synopsis and, of course, see the brand new trailer after the jump. Read More »

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

Read More »

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Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: I celebrate all levels of trailers and hopefully this column will satisfactorily give you a baseline of what beta wave I’m operating on, because what better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? Some of the best authors will tell you that writing a short story is a lot harder than writing a long one, that you have to weigh every sentence. What better medium to see how this theory plays itself out beyond that than with movie trailers?

Read More »