(Note: Several News articles between the below updates and the current stories are not available.)

FINALLY! The real deal on Woo & MI2!
Thanks to the great HK Entertainment Review for the heads up.

Here is the truth regarding the rumour that John Woo may have left Mission Impossible 2. The man being interviewed, Terence Chang, is Woo's manager and production partner so he would definitely know: (From Apple Daily Newspaper in HK)

"Apple -- Rumours have been spreading that John Woo is very unhappy working on MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 2 and is on the verge of leaving. Yesterday, Apple reporters contacted Terence Chang Ka-Jun, Woo's agent, for a comment. Chang said, 'John has not yet started shooting on the film. Right now, there is a problem with the budget. John wants US$150 million. The studio is only willing to use in-between US$100 million and US$125 million. I'm confident they'll reach an agreement soon on the figure.'"

"When asked if reports that Woo and Cruise did not get along were accurate, Chang replied, 'No real problems. Of course, there will always be differences on any set but they always reach a comprise. The two are very committed to the movie so they both have strong views on it.'"

"When asked when shooting will begin, Chang answered, 'John is already in Australia doing pre-shooting work. Shooting will start on March 20th. He's decided to cut back on location shots in Europe so most of the film will be shot in Australia. John and Tom both decided that to save money.'"

So it looks like Woo is still working on the film. In fact, Woo attended a MI2 press conference in Australia the other day, so things are looking up. It's interesting that Woo and Cruise don't seem to be looking eye to eye though. I believe it was the same situation on the first MI film, when Cruise and Brian DePalma had well-publicized falling-out as well. Anyway, still happy that Woo is still on!

Sure they do... Just Like They Wear Pants!
Thanks yet again to the great HK Entertainment Review for the news.

HKEnt Review turned up this report from Apple Daily about CYF's wardrobe in Anna & the King:

"Apple -- Since arriving in Malaysia on the 18th, Chow Yun-Fat has not met with the press. According to sources, Chow Yun-Fat will have many costumes in ANNA AND THE KING. One costume will see him in a gold long shirt and Thai pants. Very noble. Another will show his manliness as he will wear a Thai style sarong that will leave his chest bare. Very sexy."

"According to reports from the production, Chow Yun-Fat tried on the costumes last week and was very satisfied with the results. Especially now that he is extremely fit, no one will be able to say that he does not look like a Thai king."

And here are some pics from the film. The first is the palatial set being built for the film, and the other is a goverment building that may be used for some scenes as well:

Is Woo Still On MI2?

New updates regarding director John Woo's status on Mission Impossible 2. You will recall that rumours were floating around that he had been removed from the project, only weeks before filming was to begin. Now here are two seemingly conflicting reports on the situation:

From Coming Attractions: "Woo has indeed left the project... Cruise/Wagner is trying to, pardon the pun, woo him back to the project, but Paramount's going to have to cough up the bucks. It appears Woo loved the current screenplay, but wanted to beef up the action sequences to his usual standards. Woo's people seem to have presented an additional budget proposal to Paramount, which was promptly rejected (it appears the same sort of thing happened on Star Trek: Insurrection and they don't want to risk it now on a younger franchise).

"Woo refused to continue on MI:2 if the additional money wasn't granted, and so everybody's at a stalemate. We'll see in a couple days where the project stands, but Paramount is about three baby steps away from pushing the movie back to the already crowded Summer 2000 schedule."

And from Ain't it Cool News: "I've been trying to find out one way or another about what's going on with the film for over a week now, and found out today that John Woo is STILL directing MISSION IMPOSSIBLE II. The people I've talked to say that he was never considering leaving, yadda yadda yadda... So take a breath.... Woo will rock our world... Now if only we had a clue what the hell is happening in the film, our world would be a bit more in tune."

Integrating the two, my guess is that Woo has not left the project, but is indeed demanding the budget increase. However, he may not be as intent on leaving if his demands aren't met as Coming Attractions makes it out to be. I should note that I trust AICN more than Coming Attractions: AICN's webmaster Harry Knowles is personally digging for the info, whereas Coming Attraction's scoop was given anonymously and is not even peripherally confirmed by anyone else. Furthermore, the scooper that gave Coming Attractions its info has given incorrect info about MI2 before (he said it was very unlikely Woo would be doing the film at all).

Corruptor Reaction Pouring In!

Reaction to The Corruptor has been sprouting up all over the Net. So far the general feeling seems to be that while TC is not the best movie he's ever done, it is a noticeable improvement over The Replacement Killers and also gives CYF a lot of dialogue. Here are some quotes plus one full-fledged review at the end:

"Chow Yun-Fat is finally acting this time around and his English is very good indeed. And there is no john woo-CYF style of body & gun swinging. Definitely much much better than Replacement Killer. But CYF is a bit putting on weight..."

"Stylistically, it's like watching an episode of "NYPD Blue" but the constantly shakey camerawork is headache-inducing on the big screen. The story is overly familiar, and Chow (who was there) has much more presence in person that he does on-screen in this one; he's yet to come to grips with delivering English dialogue with conviction. Yet Wahlberg (usually quite good) also seems not quite sure of the tone required.

The action-scenes are plentiful but the handling makes them confusing and unexciting. If you see this in a theatre (it may look better on DVD, especially if they lighten the image a little) try and sit well back; that may help. But whatever, don't get your hopes up too high. This is something we've all seen a million times before..."

"If you like Chow Yun Fat, watch The Corruptor. I just watched it. Now you can see him really act instead of just dance and shoot in TRK. CYF sinks in TRK but the Corruptor might just save his Hollywood career..." - GetDVD

Various snippets provided by Kent:
"CYF's performance in the corruptor is ten times better than that in the Replacement Killers..."

"CYF outshrines the other gweilo totally..."

"A lot of Cantonese can be heard throughout the movie, and roars of laughter burst out among the audience whenever Chinese words of cussing are spoken on the big screen...."

"Chinatown is depicted in a more realistic fashion this time..."

"The corruptor is not really that good, but it's otherwise a 100% CYF movie..."

From Ryan Law of the HK Movie Database:
"CHOW Yun-fat's "The Corruptor" has done its World Gala Premiere on Friday 9:45 PM at Windsor Theatre. However, the first show available for audience was on Saturday midnight show in 5 theatres under the title "Anti-Piracy Midnight Show". All the incomes, deducted from the necessary expenditure, will be put into a anti-piracy fund. I paid my ticket and watched "The Corruptor" midnight show at Broadway Mongkok Theatre House 1 at 11:45 PM.

The story of the movie starts with Nick CHEN (CHOW Yun-fat), a decorated NYPD officer, has got relationships with Triads. Now a new detective Danny WALLACE (Mark WALBERG) joined the Asian Gang Unit. Being green to the unit, Nick has to spend time and efforts in getting him into the society. However, the Triads seems to be interested to attempt to corrupt this idealistic young officer. However, the story behind these relationships on the surfact is another conspiracy......

Before commenting on "The Corruptor", it is very important to know your own expectation. Since this is CHOW Yun-fat's second movie with his extremely disappointing performance in "The Replacement Killer" as a shot machine among local audience, it is not wise to expect that he will get the change totally. Hence, if you try to compare "The Corruptor" with any CHOW Yun-fat's past Hong Kong movies, you will definitely be disappointed and frustrated. If you compare it with "The Replacement Killer", it must be better since "The Replacement Killer" is not a movie but a longer version of MTV.

In terms of the plot, "The Corruptor" is very typical. The gun shots are okay, though you won't get any surprise. Expect a double-shooting scene from CHOW from the first 5 minutes. For the main storyline, it seems that it tries to put the the relatonship between Nick and Danny and intends to put Danny into a difficult position when choosing between loyalty and justice. I consider it basically works, though a bit pale. Maybe it is more enjoyable if more elaborations are put on describing interactions between Nick and Danny not only for their present cases. The character of Nick is a bit blurred which makes it less impressive. I consider a black-and-white perspective on Nick's past will make it more convincing. It looks like the script writer is a bit lack of confidence by putting lots of gun-shoting scenes in the first half hour. This is not a good practice as the first part of the movie is expected to be character descriptions and elaborations.

In terms of performance, I consider the key issue we concern is CHOW Yun-fat. This time the peroformance of CHOW is okay. In the "Corruptor", CHOW has more dialogue to show his acting which is good. As usual, we expect more dialogue from CHOW. For Mark WAHLBERG, I consider the plot doesn't give him enough opportunity to act and interact. WAHLBERG is good to be put in some punch lines which can make the movie more fruitful. In fact, the plot has put him in two punch lines at the beginning. I understand that it would damage the tone at the later part of the movie but I consider the character Danny can be more impressive if more punch lines are put on him as this can show how 'green' he is in cops. Nevertheless, I found that there should be more interactions between Danny and Nick. The interactions right now is okay but can be better by putting more contexts in how they trust each other and how they can be partners. This also helps the development of the movie.

For other side issues, I consider the casting of the movie is a bit careless. Some of the side castings are familiar in Jet LI's "Lethal Weapon 4" last year. It is acceptable if we can at least 10 movies with Chinese performers in such scale a year. Unfortunately, we have not many and audience can easily recognised the main baddies. This results that the character is being stereotyped.

For other related issues, I consider the sound effects are good. Maybe it is due to the tons of gun-fighting scenes at the beinning and at the end of the movie. Still, it is good.

In short, "The Corruptor" is expectedly typical. Fortunately, CHOW is able to act with good performance. I consider the movie can be more enjoyable if more efforts can be put in other parts."

Corruptor Shift and Woo No More?!
Thanks to CYF:God of Actors and Dark Horizons.

Double dose of bad news. First, The Corruptor's US release date has been moved back one week to March 12th, 1999. I can live with that, it's not too bad. However, well, there's even worse news... damn! I'm so shocked I can't even type it out. So, here's the cut & paste right from the source, Dark Horizons:

"Mission Impossible 2: One very hot piece of gossip has been swirling around the film circles late this week in both Sydney and Melbourne. Rumour is that Director John Woo ("Face/Off") has possibly left the project just weeks before shooting was set to begin. 'Shape' heard the rumour on several occasions and one of his contacts confirms its not 'Industry scuttlebutt'. In any case, if this is true then a press release would likely be issued next week."

Nooooo!! Here's hoping this is all just a big misunderstanding. I was SO looking forward to this project. If Woo is off, that's one less ticket sale for MI2.

Corruptor date & Jet Li's Latest
Thanks to Jet Li Homepage and CYF:God of Actors

New Line Cinema's webpage indicates that The Corruptor will be released in North America on March 5th. As always, these dates are subject to change, but given that the theatrical trailer is already playing, the film is likely to be released on that date. The lucky CYF fans in Singapore are going to be able to see it a month early, around February 6th.

In a surprising bit of news, it seems Artisan Entertainment (formerly known as Live Entertainment, distributors of films such as Stargate and Terminator 2) will be giving Jet Li's Hong Kong film, BLACK MASK, a large theatrical release in America on March 19th! A dark superhero story, BLACK MASK has a slick, music-video-like look (similar to Brandon Lee's THE CROW) that should go over well with American audiences. However, most would agree that the plot tends to drag in parts and the film stock used is of low quality. To address these problems, Artisan is tightening the film through re-editing, and will enhance the film stock to create a more vibrant, sharper-looking picture. If only they would do that for all the old Hong Kong films! In addition, BM will get all-new sound effects, English-dubbed vocals, and a techno-music soundtrack. People who have seen it say it now looks a lot like the recent Wesley Snipes vampire movie, BLADE. I can't wait!

Click here to go to Artisan's small Black Mask website

And click here to see a bunch of images from the movie

Anna and the King tidbits
Courtesy of Dark Horizons

Dark Horizons has this short scoop about Anna & the King. Note that it has been confirmed that the movie will be filming in Malaysia and not Thailand.

"Hi, I'm a resident in Malaysia and I've received some info on this new Chow Yun-Fat/Jodie Foster flick. They will apparently shoot for 13 weeks and will spend some US $18-20 million. It will shoot in the city of Ipoh which is just north of Kuala Lumpur. A replica of the Siamese royal palace is being built there. Over 20,000 extras and 20 elephants will be casted in this movie."

Markie Mark Praises CYF
Courtesy of Ravenkeeper

The Dec '98 issue of British movie magazine, Neon, has an article about Mark Wahlberg, Chow Yun-Fat's co-star in The Corruptor. Here are some excerpts from the interview:

page 8, Headline: "Mark Wahlberg's next big thing: The 'Boogie Nights' star plays another fine upstanding citizen"

"Everyone knows what Dirk Diggler had down his trousers in 'Boogie Nights,' but we're about to discover what the man who played him, Mark Wahlberg, has up his sleeve next. The former rap star and Calvin Klein underpants model has been beseiged by offers to appear in movies since his success as the well-endowed porn star in Paul Thomas Anderson's critically acclaimed film.

"That's the good news. The bad news is that, according to Wahlberg, the offers are for 'cheap movies, cheesy-ass sex movies. And I'm getting offered a lot of money for them, too.' This post-'Boogie Nights' experience has taught him one thing: 'If you want the best role, you've got to go out there and earn it. You've go to be the best guy for it. I had to read and audition for the movie that I'm doing now.'

"The movie in question is 'The Corruptor,' which reunites him with James Foley, who directed Wahlberg in the less-than-gripping 'Fear' and whose disjointed career manages to encompass both 'Glengarry Glen Ross' and 'The Chamber.' In 'The Corruptor,' which finished filming in Toronto this summer, Wahlberg plays an idealistic young cop, Danny Wallace, who's assigned to partner a burned-out detective called Nick Chen. The senior cop is on the take and in the clutches of "the Corruptor," a criminal overlord who controls New York City's Chinatown.

"So far so routine. What makes 'The Corruptor' more interesting is the actor playing Nick Chen: Chow Yun-Fat. John Woo's favourite leading man made his American debut last year in Antoine Fuqua's 'The Replacement Killers,' co-starring alongside Mira Sorvino in the flashy but brainless thiller. 'I've seen a lot of Yun-Fat's movies,' Wahlberg says, 'but never saw the 'Replacement Killers.' I was told, 'Do not go and see it, or you'll quit the movie.' Presumably Yun-Fat was given the same advice about Wahlberg's follow-up to 'Boogie Nights,' Kirk Wong's violent thriller 'The Big Hit' which flopped at the US box office this spring.

"Yun-Fat is about to work with Woo on their first American collaboration, 'King's Ransom' but Wahlberg expects 'The Corruptor' to be the film that finally makes the Hong Kong action hero a star in Hollywood. 'He's fantastic,' the 27-year-old Wahlberg enthuses. 'I've never really seen him do this sort of heavy drama. Even though he's more serious, than, say, Jackie Chan, it's always been a lot of quirky stuff - that's the Hong Kong style.'

"'This film, however, is straight drama. There's probably only one action sequence in the whole movie. Pretty much all of my scenes are with Yun-Fat, and I'm very, very happily surprised at his performance thus far.'" - Adrian Hennigan for Neon magazine.

Chow Yun Fat = Mel Gibson?!
Courtesy of Roughcut

Here is what Andy Tennant, director of "Anna and the King" (who previously directed Drew Barrymore in "Ever After"), had to say about his vision of the movie: "I think I'm doing Anna and the King in Thailand. It's based on the book. It's going to shoot somewhere in southeast Asia. This truly is Braveheart in Thailand. I mean, it's about a civil war."

Roughcut's Dave Poland also gives some insight as to why Jodie Foster was chosen over hot-actress-of-the-moment Kate Winslet: "At the Ever After junket, director Andy Tennant was hinting that Winslet was, in fact, the first choice to play Anna in the new version, based on a book and not on any previous produced projects. My guess is that Winslet was trying to get almost as much as Foster's $15 million and when Fox realized that it wasn't going to get away cheap, Jodie Foster is still a much more significant star draw than Winslet...Most recently, [Foster] powered the commercially unviable Nell and Somersby to $34 million and $50 million respectively; brought her considerable charm to Maverick and really held Contact together, almost single-handedly, in its drive to $100 million domestic."

Sounds pretty reasonable to me.

Foster close to Anna...

Daily Variety is reporting that Jodie Foster (Contact, Silence of the Lambs) is VERY close to signing onto "Anna and the King" starring opposite Chow Yun Fat. She would reportedly be paid $15 million for the role, making her tied with Julia Roberts as the highest paid actress in Hollywood.

Going only from what I know of the original story, I think Kate Winslet (Titanic) might be a better choice to play Anna Leonowens, a 19th century British schoolteacher, if for other reason than that she has demonstrated repeatedly that she knows how to play proper English ladies. However, Jodie Foster is a great actress and a major box office draw, so she is probably not a bad choice either.

(Note: Several months worth of news updates between the news below and the news above were lost. So if you were looking for them, they're no longer here. Sorry.)

No Mission Impossible Sequel for Yun Fat!
From Wolverine's HK Top 10

The title says it all. CYF will not be in Tom Cruise's Mission Impossible 2. Not a career ender by any means, but one can only wonder at the mileage he would've gotten out of appearing in the sequel to the most popular movie star in the world's most popular movie ever. Especially if CYF stole the show, which wouldn't be hard for him.

What? You want proof? Then check out this quote from MI2's director, none other than the maestro, John Woo:

"Originally I really wanted to team up Fat Jai (Chow Yun Fat) and Tom for this film. Unfortunately Fat Jai has to work on The King and I in November. On top of that after finishing the script, I didn't think any of the characters is suitable for him. We might as well wait until there is a suitable character to team them up again. There is no point wasting two good actors!"

Does The King and I really need updating? And please Lord, don't make CYF shave his head. I think Peace Hotel proved that it isn't a flattering look for him - His face is neither angular nor thin, two facial/cranial attributes which are usually needed to look good when sporting a shaved head.

Ah well, here's to hoping Terence Chang and Mrs. Chow know EXACTLY what the hell they're doing with CYF's career.

Knock Off Reviewed!
Courtesy of Daniel Wang's Action Web

Action Web has posted an advance review of Jean Claude Van Damme's upcoming film, "Knock Off". As you may know, this is the second Hollywood film (the first being Double Team) by former HK auteur, Tsui Hark (Once Upon a Time in China, Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain). Knock Off has been available on VideoCD in Hong Kong for months now. Its North American theatrical release date has been moved from August to some time in September.

Click here for the review.

Click here for an image of the movie poster.

The Replacement Killers Revisited

As of June 30th, CYF's Hollywood debut, "The Replacement Killers" should be available on VHS, DVD, and laserdisc all over North America. The laserdisc and DVD versions include the theatrical trailer as well as a "making of..." featurette. The DVD, in particular, supposedly has *spectacular* picture and sound quality, even when compared to the high bar set by past DVD releases. Hmm, with the recent Criterion Collection Hard-Boiled release and now this, DVD is getting harder and harder to resist...

Click here for an image of the laserdisc cover.

For very specific (though incomplete) news on the international box office of TRK, check out the Still the Real Deal page from the creators of the info-packed Chow Yun Fat: God of Actors webpage.

Chow Yun Fat Update
Courtesy of Ain't It Cool News

"The manager of Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh and John Woo, Terence Chang revealed a series of good news which proves the successes of Hong Kong film people in Hollywood. Chang expressed that Chow Yun Fat will star in the new King and I. The film company is interested in casting Emma Thompson as the lead actress." (me -- Woohoo! Best pairing since Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn) The film will begin production in the latter half of the year. Chow will shave his head to play the late Yul Brynner's role and the film will shoot in Australia. After completing The Corruptor, Mr. and Mrs. Chow will return to Hong Kong and rest."

Oh no, sounds like CYF is not doing Mission Impossible 2! Hope Mrs.Chow and Terence Chang know what they are doing...

Rush Hour Reviews!

Once again, the awesome Ain't It Cool News turns up some advance reviews of an upcoming movie. This time it's Jackie Chan's first (well, second if you count "An Alan Smithee Film") Hollywood feature, Rush Hour! Check them out:

First review:
Tonight I was fortunate enough to see a test screening of Rush Hour, the new Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker movie.

I wanted to tell you that it was one of the best movies I have seen all year. It's better than any Jackie Chan movie I have seen in the past. And the pairing of the two make the movie hilariously funny.

Jackie Chan for the first time is really acting and he does an amazing job. He is sure to become a huge star after this movie comes out.

Chris was unbelievably funny. He definately goes to the next level as an actor and a comedian. I personally think this movie is ten times better than his last movie "Money Talks."

The other characters in the movie where also excellent. The guy from The Full Monty and the actor from Hard Eight who plays The Captain were fabulous. The central figure, a little girl, was excellent and very believable. Also Elizabeth Pena was great as the hard ass cop women. And the Asian bad guy who I had never seen before was such a good evil character in this movie.

For an action comedy the story is incredibly well told. You really care about the characters in this film and love the relationship between Chris and Jackie. The stunts and action sequences blew me away. And surprisingly the movie has a lot of heart. This movie is a must see summer blockbuster. By the way I saw the trailer for this movie in the theatre a week ago and it is incredible. And the movie defiantly lives to the trailers expectations. Make sure you check it out.

To top off the movie they had bloopers at the end of the movie that where hilarious!!! Everyone was clapping and cheering at the end of the movie. I hope I didn't give everything away but I just wanted to let you know about this great upcoming film! If you get a chance to see it let me know what you think.

Second review:
Saw an NRG screening of RUSH HOUR (Jackie Chan's latest) tonight in Torrance, CA. It's 1:30 AM right now and I just got home and have had a few too many drinks to write a coherent review right now, but suffice to say that it KICKS ASS. The crowd loved it. Jackie has finally made a real "Hollywood" movie and his fans will not be let down. Chris Tucker is a revelation, as well. I know a lot of people found him annoying in THE FIFTH ELEMENT, but get ready, because this guy is a movie star, big time.

Not Your Father's Shakespeare
Courtesy of Cinescape Online

"Based on stunning feedback from audiences who have viewed test screenings of Warner Bros.í upcoming Lethal Weapon 4, the studio has secured the services of the Asian martial arts super-star to star as the male lead in Joel Silver ís upcoming action-filled adaptation of Romeo and Juliet called Romeo Must Die. While Warnerís exercising of its option for Liís high-flying skills on Romeo may delay the start date of Universalís The Art of War according to Variety, it marks a renewed confidence in Li whoís projected to pocket $3 million for his services. The actor will portray a businessman affiliated with both the Italian and Chinese mobs who is called upon to negotiate peace between the warring factions. When he falls in love with the daughter of the Italian mob boss the story takes a decidedly high-action turn."

Kev note: Could be cool, over-the-top fun (Jet taking down roomfuls of mafioso and yakuza types!), but let's hope they change the title before it's released.

Build that Power-base!
Courtesy of Aint it Cool News

The latest word on Hollywood's 3 most successful Hong Kong ex-pats. Take this news with a grain of salt as it's not coming from the most reliable of sources.

Chow Yun Fat
Chow Yun-Fat recently finished "The Corruptor" and will be starring in the remake of "The King and I" in Australia. (I hope this doesn't mean he's going to pass on Mission Impossible 2!)

John Woo
John Woo will start production for "Mission Impossible 2" with Tom Cruise in October. The other possible future project will be a western called "Last Words" starring Paul Newman and Harrison Ford.

Michelle Yeoh
The rumour of Michelle Yeoh ("Tommorow Never Dies") starring in "Vertical Limits" appeared to be false; the project was terminated due to oversized budget, kudos to "Charlie's Angle" (Kev Note: What the heck does "kudos to Charlie's Angels" mean? Does it mean Charlie's Angels killed the other movie, or that CA shared the same fate?). However, there are signs that Michelle will be starring in the new "Indiana Jones" (WooHoo!) movie, she recently had meetings with Spielberg and Lucas.

Truly a Land of Opportunity
Thanks to MC4 for the heads-up

I've been hearing about this for a while now, but I never believed it until now. This fall, Jackie Chan's heavyset "big brother", Sammo Hung, will be starring in his own CBS primetime TV action series, Martial Law! Even in Hollywood's Hong Kong-friendly climate, I never would have imagined this occurring. Incredible. Check out CBS's official site for a video clip and brief synopsis.

CYF, agent of the IMF?
Courtesy of Apple Daily and MC4's Hong Kong Movie Page

If you haven't already heard, Tom Cruise has enlisted the aid of John Woo and his tremendous talent to work on the sequel to Cruise's blockbuster Mission Impossible film. Although a script hasn't even been completed yet, Hong Kong gossip rag "Apple Daily" claims that Woo is wooing Chow Yun Fat for a role in the film. Apparently, though CYF has expressed desire to work with Cruise, he has noted that he would not commit until his wife (who is his manager) has read the script.

Personal note: Let's be frank here. Even with a lot of excuses ("Oh, Titanic hurt the box office"), The Replacement Killers was a mild hit at best. And unless CYF's next film, The Corruptor, gets some major Oscar nominations or breaks from the mold of sub-$50 million grosses afflicting the past decades-worth of crime dramas, it doesn't look as if CYF's status in Hollywood will go up in the coming 12 months. Now, along come quite literally the most popular movie star in the world and a highly-respected director who also happens to be CYF's good friend. They offer a featured role (most likely) in the sequel to said superstar's most successful film ever. What would I do in such a situation? Well it sure as hell wouldn't be to sit on my ass and wait for my wife to OK the script!!!

I pray that CYF comes to his senses and takes advantage of the tremendous opportunity he has here. Besides, it's not as if his wife has demonstrated a keen eye for great scripts, *cough*replacementkillers*cough*. Just my 2 cents. :)

Jet Li fires up 'Art of War' deal

This is cool. I thought he would've been pigeonholed by Hollywood into bad guy roles, b-movie chop socky schlock, or sidekick status. But no! He gets this. Awesome.

By Michael Fleming

NEW YORK (Variety) - Jet Li, the Chinese action star who makes his U.S. debut as the villainous martial artist in the upcoming "Lethal Weapon 4," has made a seven-figure deal to star in "The Art of War."

Li will play a secret agent wrongly accused of assassinating world leaders. Under the backdrop of the United Nations, he must find the real killer to clear his name. A director will be hired shortly.

With 25 action films to his credit, Li rivals Jackie Chan and Chow Yun Fat for popularity in Asia. Li, a five-time national champion of martial arts in China, played the hero in all of those efforts before putting on the black hat to menace Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in "Lethal Weapon 4," which opens in July.

Reuters/Variety ^REUTERS@

Just a quick note on the box office of CYF's "The Replacement Killers." Domestically (North America), TRK has just about finished its theatrical run, grossing about $18 million in the process. Not the huge hit many of his fans would have liked, but enough to demonstrate that there is interest in CYF as an American action hero. Let's hope his next film, The Corruptor, fares better.

On the international front, Reuters/Variety reports that as of April 21st, TRK has collected about $12.2 million in 11 territories. Not amazing, but not too bad either. I believe Japan and some of the major European markets are still ahead of the film, so expect the final international tally to easily eclipse the domestic one.

If Corruptor fails to hit, let's all hope the main man's reunion with John Woo for King's Ransom has returns that live up to the title. :) If the rumoured CYF-Nicolas Cage pairing proves true, bet on strong box office and fan boy heaven.

Agree? Disagree? Write me and if I get enough letters, maybe I'll start a new section. - Kevin

Report from the set of CYF's next film, The Corruptor!
Courtesy of the awesome Ain't It Cool News.

Kev note: I guess this occurred during the filming of one of the movie's only 2 action scenes. I go to school near where they're filming sometimes. Maybe I should check it out! Anyways, once you're finished reading the report, check out the pictures in the pictures section.

The following is a brief email, that a spy of mine (MR. MATT) received from a friend who was on the set of THE CORRUPTERS starring Chow Yun-Fat and Mark Wahlberg. Hmmm, seems Mr. "I have a KNB prosthetic in my pants" is moving closer and closer to Mr Woo. First it's THE BIG HIT which was produced by John Woo, and now he's alongside Woo's Mr Cool. BTW I'm getting real solid word on THE BIG HIT, perhaps it's something special. Anyway, here's the latest...

(...) and I were in Toronto yesterday on a real movie set. Did I ever tell you about (...)'s (relative) that is a Director of Photography? He has been a camera operator in the past, but was recently promoted and now actually "controls" all the aspects of filming the action. Movies that he worked in that I can think of off the top of my head were: 12 Monkeys, Jacob's Ladder, G.I. Jane, The Fisher King, The Last Boyscout, Nothing But Trouble, etc... He's been in the industry for 30 years, so he has done lots of them, but I can't remember everything. Anyway, he was in Toronto working on this movie called "The Corrupters" with Chow Yun-Fat and Mark Wahlberg. He was working with the 2nd unit yesterday and they were doing what, in the film, will be a 9 block long car chase with lots of shooting and crashes. It was pretty amazing -- in fact I was blown away by the whole thing. They were doing a shot where a guy leaning out his window shooting at a car following them gets rammed into a van that is backing up and smushed. It was so cool how they did all these different shots and then finally did it with a dummy and really rammed the van and the dummy got obliterated.