Yee looks for next hit with 'Triple Tap'

Gun competition flick aims at big audience in China

HONG KONG – Director Derek Yee plays with guns in “Triple Tap," a cops-and-robbers thriller with a twist co-invested by Hong Kong’s Emperor Motion Pictures and China’s PolyBona International, and co-produced by Hong Kong Sil-Metropol Organization.

The film stars Yee stable actors Daniel Wu and Louis Koo, who last headlined the Yee-produced summer hit “Overheard."

Set in the world of the International Practical Shooting Confederation, an obstacle-course firing competition that rewards speed, power and accuracy, “Triple Tap” is “a psychological mystery about two champions that blurs the line between heroes and villains,” said Yee, who is also one of the producers of the film.
Featuring action scenes of competitive shooting as well as robbery crossfire, filming took place amidst hills and plains near Hong Kong's northern border with the rest of China. Location scouting and preparation for the film proved challenging, as the producers found many of the rural parts of Hong Kong filled with swamps, said Henry Fong, “Triple Tap” producer and Yee’s longtime producing partner. “The gunfire would trigger explosions near swamps, so we had to spend more time to find locations. We also had to modify the guns to make them safe for filming,” said Fong.

The actioner’s 50 million yuan (US$7.3 million) budget “was mostly spent on staging elaborate gun battles and post-production,” said Albert Lee, CEO of EMP, which has a multi-picture deal with Yee. Although a Hong Kong-China co-production, the film was shot in Hong Kong and post-production will also be done in the territory.

Considerations were made to accommodate the Chinese audience and regulators, with “stylized portrayal of violence," said director Yee, whose previous outing, the Jackie Chan drama “The Shinjuku Incident” was denied release in China even after the script had been approved by the Chinese censors and granted co-production status.  “I want to make the gun battles aesthetically pleasing; someone getting shot doesn’t necessarily have to gratuitously disgusting, we don’t have to show all the blood and gore,” said Yee.

“Triple Tap” is set for a May 2010 release in China and Hong Kong to capitalize on the Chinese Labour Day national holidays. Expectations are high for the film, said Yu Dong, chairman of the film’s co-investor and distributor Poly Bona, who predicts higher boxoffice grosses for the gun enthusiast thriller than “Overheard," the company’s previous collaboration with Yee which took 90 million yuan (US$13.2 million) in China last summer. 

“‘Triple Tap’ is more action-heavy, which will be more attractive for Chinese audiences,” observed Yu. “Furthermore, the Chinese market continues to expand, the overall boxoffice take for 2010 is projected to increase by 30%, there’s no saying how much ‘Triple Tap’ will make in China,” said Yu, whose Poly Bona had a 15% market share in China in 2009 thus far, the releases of which took 900 million yuan (US$132 million) out of the total boxoffice grosses of 6 billion yuan (US$878.5 million) so far this year.