FIVE A DAY: Here Are Five More Titles To Look Up In 2016!

It's Tuesday, and that means I have five more titles to offer as my top list of titles I've rounded down to as priority for 2016, and as you're about to see, this one's for the Donnie and Sammo fans. You can click here to view Monday's first five, and remember that these are in no way listed in any particular order.

That said, I also can't mention action star Donnie Yen's name just once in today's list as he has at least three titles pending in 2016. The biggest and most long-awaited of them is director Yuen Woo-Ping's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword Of Destiny, which premieres in limited theaters and on Netflix in February, 15 years after Ang Lee's award-winning first. The Chinese and U.S. (Netflix) trailers both leave their own impressions but otherwise serve appealing glimpses into a production that primarily reunites three of Hong Kong Cinema's greatest: Yen, Yuen and returning actress Michelle Yeoh who each share respective prior credits of their own, namely Yeoh's 1994 kung fu adventure, Wing Chun. So, this pretty much qualifies as required viewing in the new year for anyone who has ever been a fan of anything in Asian cinema.

Obviously director Gareth Edwards has his hands full with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but that doesn't mean he hasn't gotten a serious boost. The latest, J.J. Abrams'e Star Wars: The Force Awakens, crossed the billion dollar mark following its second weekend and thus continuing a slew of broken records ahead of its forthcoming release through January when the franchise will officially be open wide to China markets.

Keep that in mind as we look forward to action star Donnie Yen's role in the film next to principals Felicity Day, Diego Luna and Forest Whitaker, and though small, hopefully it won't be as paltry as his earlier Hollywood stints, exemplary of his quick demises in Highlander: Endgame in 1998 and Blade 2 in 2002...

....And so the question goes: Will Rogue One one break box office records of its own as well when it releases on December 16, 2016? Who knows? However, considering how Ip Man 3 is performing overseas in the wake of Star Wars: The Force Awakens since Christmas Day as of this report, it could be a possibility.

Yen returns in the title role in what potentially could be his last stint as the legendary Wing Chun grandmaster with Danny Chan playing his most high-profile pupil, Bruce Lee. A release also remains pending next month in the U.S. courtesy of Well Go USA, and it's certainly a film that has seen its share of hurdles since the 2010 sequel; Five years is quite a long time, and so clearly the Force is strong on many fronts for Yen who is joined by Bryan Leung, Mike Tyson, Simon Kuke and Max Zhang in this latest pairing between him and director Wilson Yip - and with none other than Yuen Woo-Ping directing the action.

Staying on the subject of Asian cinema just a little longer here, it's Sammo Hung's The Bodyguard which is currently in post production. Hung directs and stars in the film with a plot that centers on a former bodyguard who unceremoniously comes back from retirement to rescue a young girl kidnapped from the criminal underworld her father is involved with.

While it's understandable that Hung may not be eager to do a lot of things in front of the camera while in his sixties, you can't really complain when he knows in his heart that he still has some fire left in him to carry an action role. And that goes for any of today's action stars living down the nostagia for non-millenials like myself and fans around the world who have cut their teeth in cinema through the last century. Hung comes from that same DNA having literally worked on hundreds of movies on top of the very Peking Opera disciplines he's learned at childhood - it's made him the filmmaker and artist he is to this day and so I'm more than fascinated by what he has to offer in The Bodyguard. The longer we have to wait for footage, the more anxious I truly am to see a preview. Andy Lau also stars.

And speaking of working lightly, of course - don't expect that Hung is doing any of the sort as we speak with The Bodyguard nearly out of the way ahead of at least a few more down the pipeline, including Soi Cheang's The Monkey King 2. Hung directs the action for the fantasy sequel which now sees Aaron Kwok switching gears from the Bull Demon King in the first film to the title role. The first film, which starred Yen, became a box office hit despite mixed and poor reviews, beating out Iron Man 3 for its opening day earnings next to breaking a few more records of its own. That film is said to be the start of a trilogy of titles which ought to guarantee a film presence that is just as competitive in its own right next to that of, say, Star Wars, the Marvel MCU and The Fast And The Furious films, so we already know that this film could meets its end with a third should box office results bode all the same as it did in 2014.

The Monkey King 2, also starring Curse Of The Golden Flower star Gong Li, will get a Chinese New Year theatrical opening on February 8, close to a week following the upcoming North American Digital HD release of The Monkey King on February 2 from Cinedigm.

Stay tuned for my next five!
(CLICK HERE for the first five)


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