Netflix has slowly been upping its game in the home entertainment circuit ever since House of Cards became nearly as popular as HBO’s Game of Thrones. Now they are stepping up once again, this time with a sequel to 2000’s four-time Oscar winning epic Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, expected to be available on Netflix this February. The new film is subtitled The Green Legend and, like the original, is based on an original novel by author Du Lu Wang. Returning from the original film is actress Michelle Yeoh (Tomorrow Never Dies, Memoirs of a Geisha), who leads a whole new cast that features Donnie Yen (Blade 2, Hero), Harry Shum Jr. (Glee, White Frog), Jason Scott Lee (The Jungle Book, Balls of Fury), Eugenia Yuan (The Drummer, Shanghai Hotel), and Juju Chan (Unconditional Love, Fist of the Dragon) in a screenplay by John Fusco (Young Guns, Hidalgo). The first trailer, which is featured above, was just released this week. I’m not really sure what they had in mind with the techno version of CCR’s Bad Moon Rising playing in the back drop, but the visual effects and fight-scene choreography look pretty awesome. We’ll keep you posted on upcoming details.
This week, a 2010 mystery-drama from the Weinstein Company will finally see a limited American release after having spent five years waiting on the studio shelves. Director Mikael Hafstrom (1408, The Rite) and producer Harvey Weinstein were set to begin principle photography on the film Shanghai in 2008 when the Chinese government suddenly pulled their permits, forcing the production to relocate to Thailand and England to complete filming. The film is a period piece, set in Japanese-occupied Shanghai in the 1940s just months before the attack on Pearl Harbor occurs, and follows an American who returns to probe the mysterious death of his friend. As the mystery begins to unfold, however, and as he falls into a personal romantic relationship, the truth behind his friend’s death begins to reveal a much larger conspiracy at work. Starring in the lead role is actor John Cusack (2012, Hot Tub Time Machine), who has worked with director Hafstrom on the suspense-thriller 1408 in 2007. Also in the supporting cast are actors Li Gong (Miami Vice, Hannibal Rising), Yun-Fat Chow (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Curse of the Golden Flower), and David Morse (The Green Mile, The Hurt Locker). We’re not entirely sure why Weinstein decided to hold the US release back for so long, but this isn’t the first film the company has withheld from the public for a number of years before releasing it. Whatever the case, the Weinstein Company is usually pretty good about investing in worthwhile features, and the trailer reads more like an action-thriller than a romantic drama. Either way it should be a great watch. Enjoy!
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was released in 2000 and against all expectations became the highest grossing foreign-language film in American history, earning more than $200 million in worldwide box office sales. Filmed entirely in Mandarin, the movie was based on the fourth novel in a book series by author Wang Dulu called the Crane Iron Pentology. The film adaptation by director Ang Lee received critical acclaim in Hollywood, earning a total of four Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography and Best Foreign Language Film, and getting Lee an Oscar nomination for Best Director. Now a sequel is currently in the works that will feature original actress Michelle Yeoh and new faces Donnie Yen and Harry Shum, Jr. While this does sound sort of enticing, the plot, I’m afraid, sounds exactly like the original story with a new generation of actors in the main title roles. This could turn out to be a total flop, but maybe if the project receives the same artistic and skillful approach that Lee brought to the original, it might be worth seeing. That being said, you should definitely go out and rent the original; you’ll have to read a lot of subtitles but it is definitely worth watching!