On Monday at an event in Beijing, China Movie Channel and HBO Asia have since re-officiated their Asia-exclusive partnership re: their slate of martial arts films two years after the success of Master of the Drunken Fist: Beggar So and Master of the Shadow-less Kick: Wong Kei-Ying.
The Chinese film industry has some pretty big goals in mind, some of which are the subejct of discussion held at the annual China Night Party in France where buyers are looking up titles to suit their brands. The business end of things here also extends to HBO Asia and China Movie Channel who are, according to an exclusive report over at The Hollywood Reporter, are pairing once again for two more martial arts titles following Master of the Drunken Fist: Beggar So and Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-Ying.
“We were very pleased with how our first collaboration turned out, so we are very happy to be partnering with HBO on two more high-quality TV movies that celebrate Chinese culture and history,” Zhang Ling, vice president of China Movie Channel, told THR at the Cannes film festival.
Zhang declined to share further details about the new projects. But, like their predecessors, each film is expected to be a standalone story exploring the life of a legendary martial arts master from Chinese history — together, the movies will form a loose series, or portfolio, of martial-arts sagas.
“We are looking to partner with more experienced entertainment companies from around the world,” Zhang said. “These collaborations give our talents and creative teams an opportunity to learn from Hollywood production experience, and they also help us share Chinese culture with the world in very professional way.”
Both ‘Qing-era’ titles, Beggar So and Wong Kei-Ying, were directed by action veteran Guo Jian-yong (Red Cliff, The Transporter) and aired exclusively in mainland China and across 23 Asian markets, as well as through HBO Asia and pan-Asian channel, RED by HBO. Both films are also available on VoD in the U.S., and if you’re looking, Google Play would be a swell place to start.
HBO Asia Unveils Promos For Martial Arts Anthology Films, MASTER OF THE DRUNKEN FIST: BEGGAR SO And MASTER OF THE SHADOWLESS KICK: WONG KEI-YING
HBO Asia’s viewership will be the fortunate ones to get a first-hand glimpse of what’s to come this December with its original martial arts movie programming. For two nights in a row, the network and its Red subsidiary will premiere Master of the Drunken Fist: Beggar So and Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-Ying on December 25 and 26, respectively, and two new promos aired last week that present something quite ambitious-looking between both.
There’s definitely an appeal to the martial arts cinema base, and especially with central characters bearing their own legacies in martial arts and cinema. Legendary Hong Kong action auteur Corey Yuen certainly helps proliferate the work done here thusfar while details for both movies have been unveiled a few weeks ago in addition to their respective one-sheets, both which you can view below along with the promotional trailers just beneath.
SINGAPORE, OCTOBER 17, 2016 – The premiere dates of the inaugural HBO Asia Original anthology of martial arts action TV movies co-produced with China Movie Channel (CMC) were announced today. Both movies will premiere on the same day during primetime across Asia on HBO and RED BY HBO and in China on CMC’s premium subscription channel, CHC. “Master of the Drunken Fist: Beggar So” premieres at primetime this December 25 while “Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-Ying” will debut a day later on December 26. This is the first time a China co-production movie will premiere on the same day in China as well as across the region. Both movies will also be available on HBO GO and HBO ON DEMAND in Asia, as well as on CCTV6 in China at a later date.
HBO Asia will be distributing1 the movies which were executive produced by Hong Kong action director, Corey Yuen (The Transporter, X-Men) outside of China while CMC handles distribution within the mainland. The trailers for both TV movies, which boast a cast of Chinese actors professionally trained in mixed martial arts, kung fu and muay thai, were revealed today.
The action-packed movies are set in ancient China at the end of the Qing dynasty. Shot in Chinese language in Hengdian, China, the movies will be dubbed in English with local language subtitles when they premiere in Asia on HBO. Concurrently, both movies will also debut at the same time on RED BY HBO in its original language with English subtitles. Both movies will air in original language in China.
The two TV movies were directed by Guo Jian-yong (国建勇) who specialises in martial arts movies and has choreographed the action sequences for Cradle 2 the Grave (2003), The Twins Effect II (2004), Red Cliff (2007) and Transporter I, II and III (2001; 2005; 2008).
The first movie in the anthology, “Master of the Drunken Fist: Beggar So”, stars Cao Jun (曹骏) [Lotus Lantern (宝莲灯); Magic Mobile Phone (魔幻手机)] as Beggar So Chan (苏乞儿). Due to a conspiracy, wealthy So Chan loses everything but is saved by the Beggars’ Sect. He learns the long lost martial art – Drunken Fist, to defeat the person who framed him.
Sun Hao-ran (孙浩然) [God of War, Zhao Yun (武神赵子龙)] stars in the titular role of Wong Kei-ying (黄麒英). A physician, he learns the legendary martial art – Shadowless Kick – to take down the ruthless and treacherous new governor of Canton in “Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-Ying”.
Both movies were written by a team of writers from China, while award-winning Singaporean screenwriter, Koh Teng Liang, contributed to the screenplay of “Master of the Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-Ying”.
These two anthology TV movies are one of four HBO Asia Original productions this year. The others include HBO Asia’s first returnable series HALFWORLDS Season 2 and HBO Asia’s first Taiwanese co-production, THE PSYCHIC.
HBO Asia and China Movie Channel are officially in production for Master Of The Drunken Fist: Beggar So and Master Of The Shadowless Kick: Wong Kei-Ying, the first two of an anthology of original Qing Dynasty-set martial arts films to broadcast exclusively throughout Asia for television. Hong Kong action stalwart Corey Yuen Kwai, and choreographer Guo Jian-Yong, both who worked together on Yuen’s stylish Shu Qi headliner in 2002, So Close, will executive produce and direct, respectively, for the airing of both films beginning later this year through HBO and their pan-Asian film network, RED.
I’m a little disheartened since I live in North America and HBO Asia is exclusive solely to 23 Asian territories. HBO Asia series Halfworlds is one that certainly has my attention and in the wake of this week’s news, I kind of hope that somewhere down the line we’ll see some news whereby HBO Asia or its content expands its reach some. Because I’m a Hong Kong cinema fan and so what Yuen is onto now is something that surely appeals to folks like me who don’t live 12 hours ahead of our current time zone.
At any rate, let’s see how this process goes. Yuen, best known for contributing to many a film at home and abroad for Hollywood (No Retreat No Surrender, Righting Wrongs, Yes Madam!, The Transporter, Rise Of The Legend) just recently choreographed the action on George Nolfi’s forthcoming Bruce Lee biopic, Birth Of The Dragon which chronicles the historic private match between the one and future martial arts film legend Bruce Lee, and a local rival. So, it seems Yuen is on a bit of a streak here with both films bearing familiar territory for anyone who’s seen a Kwan Tak Hing, Jackie Chan or Donnie Yen film. I’m pleased to see that and I hope it leads to further greatness and more projects for all audiences.
Check out the teaser below along with a batch of character posters just beneath!