Taichi goes 3-D
By Stephen Cremin
Tue, 17 July 2012, 15:36 PM (HKT)
Huayi Brothers Media Corporation 華誼兄弟傳媒股份有限公司 steampunk martial arts movie Taichi Zero 太極１ 從零開始 and its sequel Taichi Hero 太極２ 英雄崛起 will be released in China in 3-D, one month apart in September and October.
Set in the early 19th century, the films are a fantastical retelling of the origins of taichi martial arts based on real historical figures.
The films launch the movie career of competitive martial artist Jayden YUAN 袁曉超 ("The Freak") opposite Tony LEUNG Ka-fai 梁家輝 ("Master"), Angelababy 楊穎 ("Beauty"), Eddie PENG 彭于晏 ("Villain") and William FENG 馮紹峰 ("Rising Son").
The two films — in a planned trilogy — are directed by Stephen FUNG 馮德倫, and mark the first productions of his company Diversion Pictures 突圍電影有限公司, which he founded with Daniel WU 吳彥祖. Wu has a cameo role in the Taichi series.
According to company co-president James WANG Zhonglei 王中磊, the first two episodes were shot back-to-back over 284 days at a budget of RMB220 million ($34.5 million). The cost of 3-D conversion may add significantly to the budget.
Huayi's Painted Skin: The Resurrection 畫皮Ⅱ was recently released exclusively on 3-D prints in China. It had taken approximately RMB629 million (US$98.7 million) by Sunday night. Its 2-D version crossed US$1 million in Hong Kong this weekend.
Taichi Zero's September date positions it during that National Day holidays, one of the most lucrative and competitive box office periods in China, the same slot as Huayi's Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame 狄仁杰之通天帝國 (2010).
Films that Taichi Zero may open against include Looper 環形使者 starring Bruce WILLIS, Double Xposure 二次曝光 starring FAN Bingbing 范冰冰, Switch 天機 富春山居圖 starring Andy LAU 劉德華, Dangerous Liaisons 危險關係 starring ZHANG Ziyi 章子怡 and The Assassins 銅雀台 starring CHOW Yun-fat 周潤發.
Chow Yun-fat gives impressive weight to an ambitious but uneven costume drama.
Classy reworking, set in '30s Shanghai, makes up in style what it lacks in emotional punch.
Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame
Entertaining but throwaway whodunit set in Ancient China.
Initially intriguing mystery drama jumps the rails halfway and sinks with all hands.
Painted Skin: The Resurrection
Slick fantasy vehicle for three Mainland stars is in a different league to the 2008 film.
| 太極２ 英雄崛起
A solid slice of entertainment that's a vast improvement on the saga's first part.
| 太極１ 從零開始
First leg of an announced trilogy is over-cooked, uninvolving and way more miss than hit.
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