the_rza_thinks

The RZA‘s career in the movies reportedly started with a call from Harvey Weinstein. Here’s how he tells it, in an impersonation of the big man. The phone went, he picked it up, there was a raspy voice and it said:

Hey RZA, it’s Harvey. I want you to be in my movie. You got a new career now.

Such a smooth talker, the big man.

That movie was Derailed, Mikael Halfstrom’s thriller with Jennifer Aniston and Clive Owen. Since then, a series of supporting roles and scoring gigs have seen RZA keep his side careers spinning nicely but all of his notable achievements were still on wax, courtesy of the music made through his membership of the Wu Tang Clan. However, that may be about to change with his next step up the cinematic ladder and the advent of his debut as a writer-director. Fingers crossed that The Man With the Iron Fist is a movie as good as his hip hop.

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rainofswords1

It doesn’t look like John Woo will be returning to Hollywood anytime soon. After a string of not-so-great Western films, Woo returned to China and delivered the massive two-part epic Red Cliff. I’ve only seen the first film of the Chinese release (haven’t yet seen the condensed most other countries got), and while it certainly isn’t perfect, it towers above anything Woo delivered while in Hollywood. Now we have a first look at his next project, Jianyu Jianghu (also known for now as Rain of Swords In The Pugilistic World), which stars Michelle Yeoh.

Woo will be co-directing the film with Su Chao-Bin (Silk, Better Than Sex). They’ll be joined by longtime producer bud Terrence Chang. The cast also includes Chang Chen, Kelly Lin, and Barbie Hsu.

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woo_chan_posters

I’m in the middle of watching Red Cliff and I’m amazed that, for the first time in at least a decade, I’m excited by a John Woo movie. (Import DVDs for the win, and I’ll probably still go see the half-length US edit out of curiosity.) So I’m happy to see that his next Chinese production seems to be going forward. Given that Woo has a habit of developing and announcing films that would never happen, there was good reason to be skeptical that we’d ever see Rain of Swords in a Pugilistic World, which would be an all-out wuxia film with Michelle Yeoh.

But now there’s a sales poster and we have the synopsis as well. After the break, we’ve also got a short teaser for Little Big Soldier, Jackie Chan‘s latest Chinese film. His Chinese stuff hasn’t been great — it’s no match for his classic output — but it’s miles better than the garbage he’s been in stateside for the past many years. Read More »

john-woo

John Woo hasn’t made an English-language film since 2003’s Paycheck. Arguably he’s made only one good (or only one truly entertaining) film in America, Face/Off, though the Nic Cage war film Windtalkers does have defenders. Leaving the studio system seems like it was the best option for Woo, and in addition to his completed film opus Red Cliff he’s got Jianyu Jianghu (The Swordsman’s World) going now with Michelle Yeoh. But Woo continues to flirt with the idea of making another movie in America, as his lengthy list of attachments shown on IMDB can attest. Now he says there are really two projects he’s interested in making here, and they’re after the jump. Read More »

John Woo’s Red Cliff U.S. Movie Trailer

red_cliff_poster

It seems like it’s taken forever for the U.S. release of John Woo’s epic Red Cliff, but now it’s finally scheduled for a November release — and we have the U.S. trailer to prove it. Even though it’s taken us so long to get the film domestically, we’re still getting screwed over since we’re receiving the condensed version of Woo’s original vision. Red Cliff was originally released in China (and other Asian markets) as two films totaling 4 hours. Outside of Asia, the film was edited down to 2 1/2 hours.
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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

flying_tiger

A press conference has been held in China to announce the production of John Woo‘s next film, claimed to be the most expensive Chinese production to date. Half of the £100 million funds will allegedly be coming from the US, however, though I haven’t actually seen it confirmed who the American backers are. The film will unsurprisingly feature a mix of ‘Hollywood’ and Chinese movie stars.

The Flying Tigers, more officially known as The 1st American Volunteer Group, flew missions against the Japanese in World War 2. They apparently destroyed 300 enemy aircraft while suffering only 14 casualties, for which they were paid a bonus which might, technically, make them mercenaries.

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woo_shoots

Now that John Woo has his insanely epic Red Cliff double bill all wrapped up, his next project was due to be a World War II drama called 1949. It was announced at Cannes last year that Woo’s Lion Rock would be producing the film and he himself would be directing. I salivated, I have to admit.

Unfortunately, Ya-shih Films have more recently made a claim to ownership of the script. They had initially acquired it two years ago and though the ScreenDaily story doesn’t exactly make the details clear, it seems their onward deal with Lion Rock wasn’t exactly solid. Ya-shih have now set 1949 up for production as a TV drama – while hedging their bets and looking for a ‘suitable director’ to see it through as a big screen project. The screenplay was written by Lust, Caution‘s Wang Hui-ling – I bet they at least try to secure Ang Lee.

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stranglehold

Last week we told you that a sequel to John Woo‘s 1992 Hong Kong action-classic Hard Boiled was in development. Screenwriters Jeremy Passmore (Special) and Andre Fabrizio (upcoming John Carpenter film The Prince) were hired to write an adaption of the Woo-produced 2007 video game Stranglehold, which was an official sequel to Hard Boiled and featured star Chow Yun-Fat reprising his role as hard-boiled cop Inspector “Tequila” Yuen.

But apparently the big screen version won’t be a sequel after all… it will be more of a prequel… or maybe even a total reimagining? Twitch talked to Woo’s production partner Terence Chang, who clarified that Stranglehold will feature “a much younger Tequila” and he called the film “not a sequel” but instead, “a total reinvention”.

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In this very special episode of the /Filmcast, David Chen, Peter Sciretta, Devindra Hardawar and Adam Quigley are joined by writer/actor/director Kevin Smith to discuss Zack Snyder’s Watchmen. In this epic, 1 hour and 45-minute long discussion, the five of them delve into the faithfulness of the film adaptation, the effectiveness of the film’s soundtrack, the controversy surrounding the film’s ending, the sexuality of Rorschach, and the resemblance between Zack Snyder and Jesus.

Have any questions/comments/complaints/suggestions? Want to sponsor or advertise with the /Filmcast? You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next Tuesday night at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST on Slashfilm’s live page as we review The Last House on the Left.

To hear the entire episode, you can download it here, or play it now in your browser:

[audio:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/filmcast/Slashfilmcastep41.mp3]

To hear just the segment where Kevin Smith reviews Watchmen with us, you can download it here or play it now in your browser:

[audio:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/filmcast/kevinsmithwatchmen.mp3]

To subscribe to weekly episodes of the /Filmcast, where we review movies and discuss film news with actors/directors/webmasters from all over the internet, use the following links:

Update – Welcome Digg users! If you liked this episode of the /Filmcast, you might also enjoy the following:

Dan Trachtenberg from the Totally Rad Show talks soundtracks with David Chen

The /Filmcast Interviews Dave Gibbons (the original Watchmen illustrator)

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stranglehold

John Woo‘s production company Lion Rock Entertainment is developing a big screen sequel to the classic 1992 Hong Kong action film Hard Boiled. Screenwriters Jeremy Passmore (Special) and Andre Fabrizio (upcoming John Carpenter film The Prince) are penning the adaption of the Woo-produced 2007 video game Strangehold, which was an official sequel to Hard Boiled and featured star Chow Yun-Fat reprising his role as hard-boiled cop Inspector “Tequila” Yuen. I assume the film  being developed for American audiences, as American screenwriters are attached. Which makes me wonder if this would be a real sequel to Hard Boiled, or a stand-alone film which could function as a sequel to Hard Boiled in an alternative universe where the first film took place in the United States (and some people thought Watchmen was confusing?).

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