Monday, January 16, 2006
Jet Li Yum Goong
Jet Li's Fearless is due for release in Thailand on March 2. Billed as Jet's last martial arts film, the trailers are pretty exciting, and the names behind it -- stunt choreography by Yuen Wo Ping and directed by Ronny Yu -- has me really anticipating the film.
Fearless has a bit of a Tom Yum Goong vibe, with strongman Nathan Jones in the cast. It was also supposed to have Somluck Kamsing, an Olympic boxer who was among the cast of Thai national athletes in Born to Fight. And I'm pretty sure that's his image being used in the promotional materials for the Thailand release. He's third from the top, with rope wrapped around his arms, just like Tony Jaa.
But Somluck's fight with Jet Li didn't make the cut. I'm hoping Somluck's fight makes it onto a DVD extra, or maybe there will be an extended cut.
Even bigger news, according to both Twitch and Kaiju Shakedown, Michelle Yeoh has also been cut from Fearless. Some folks are bummed, while others are rejoicing, saying the loss of Michelle's role will mean a pared down, more-focused-on-action film. I think it looks awesome -- a real throwback to the Once Upon a Time in China series or Jet's Shaw Bros film, Martial Arts of China -- back to his roots.
Meanwhile, since the release of Tom Yum Goong on VCD and DVD (in Thailand and China with no English subs so far), Tony Jaa's followup to Ong-Bak has started to filter West. And if the reviews will be anything like this one, Tom Yum Goong is in for a much more positive critical reception overseas than it received in Thailand, something that puzzled the heck out of director Prachya Pinkaew.
"I was confused," Prachya told The Nation in a year-end wrap-up of the Thai film scene. "On the one hand we had happy viewers, and on the other people complained about the script and other elements. But I believe we were successful."
(Cross-published at Rotten Tomatoes)