Focus Films launches Fight with 'Fists'

Film reunites Shaw Brothers stars from 1970s

HONG KONG -- Focus Films is launching its action film initiative Focus Fight with "Fists of Dignity," a kung fu feast that reunites a number of 1970s Shaw Brothers classic stars, the company told The Hollywood Reporter.

The initiative aims to reboot the action genre that was a mainstay in Hong Kong cinema and helped it gain an international audience in the 1970s and onwards. "The fighting style and action choreography of Hong Kong action films is unique, and holds a place in world cinema," Focus Films director Simon Li said.

"Action films, stars and choreographers became a major Hong Kong film industry export since the days of Shaw Brothers and Golden Harvest classics in the 1970s, and Hollywood has adapted the Hong Kong action styles in films like 'The Matrix' and 'Kill Bill.' We hope to revive action films by encouraging directors new and established to try their hands in this genre," Li added.

Focus Fight will finance six action projects within three years, with a total budget of HK$50 million ($6.5 million), funded solely or partly by Focus Films, the studio founded and headed by Asian superstar Andy Lau. The entire series boosts action choreography and direction from Yuen's stunt team, the prominent Hong Kong kung fu choreographers. The company is holding an ongoing recruitment of scripts from screenwriters across Asia; three scripts from Hong Kong and Chinese screenwriters have been greenlit.

The first in production is action comedy "Fists of Dignity," directed by this year's winner of the Hong Kong Film Awards' best new director Derek Kwok ("The Moss"), produced by Andy Lau and executive produced by actor Gordon Lam ("Ip Man").

The $1.3 million film about a generation of now-retired kung fu masters and their young challengers sees a reunion of Shaw Brothers and other 1970s kung fu stars, including Cheh Chang favorite Chen Kuan-tai ("Seven Soldiers of Kung Fu"), kickboxing champion Chan Wai-man ("The Spirit Of The Sword"), 1970s martial arts actor and choreographer Bruce Leung ("Broken Oath", "Kung Fu Hustle"), and femme fatale Shaw yin-yin ("Moods of Love"). "Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon" award-winning stunt master Yuen Tak is onboard as action director. "Fists of Dignity" is scheduled for November.

Focus Films is also developing a $6.5 million starring vehicle for boss Lau, tentatively titled "Hao-yun Lian-lian" ("Continuous Luck"), a comedy scheduled for 2010 Chinese New Year holidays in China and Hong Kong.