June 03, 2009
14 Blades' off to a high-kicking start
credit: prella@AF News
The shoot began in Hengdian (in the Ningxia province) on May 16 and is expected to continue till mid-August. Directed and produced by Hong Kong’s Daniel Lee of Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon fame, this wuxia actioner stars heavyweights Donnie Yen, Zhao Wei and MediaCorp’s very own Qi Yuwu.
Set during the late Ming Dynasty, it focuses on a highly trained warrior loyal to the emperor, forced to fight his former comrades in order to protect the empire. Slated for release in the first quarter of next year, it’s billed as being “Asia’s answer to the Bourne Identity”.
MediaCorp Raintree Pictures is the biggest overseas investor in the film that has its managing director all excited.
Said Raintree Pictures managing director Daniel Yun: “The ‘jing yi wei’ (secret agent) concept is still quite new for Chinese cinema and there are many other stories we can spin from it. We’re hoping for this to become a franchise for Asia, similar to the likes of Bourne and 007.
“We would like it to be a cult classic so we really want to get this first one right — the costuming, the look of the film, the characters … We want the sensibility to be cutting-edge and the pace relentless.”
Martial arts star Yen echoed his sentiments. “I was very excited when the producer (Daniel Lee) told me that he will project to the audience a martial arts world that has otherwise not been seen, “ he told Today.
Raintree’s first production in China was Painted Skin, which coincidentally also starred the three stars of14 Blades, and was a box-office success that took home two Hong Kong Film Awards including Best Cinematography.