Mention the Weinsteins to any fan of Asian cinema during the past dozen years and you'd be likely to hear a lot of profanity. While running Miramax, Harvey Weinstein constantly professed his great love for films from the region, but had the bad habit of buying films and then burying them. (Two examples: the Japanese Pulse and the Thai Tears of the Black Tiger, both of which languished for years before being liberated by Magnolia Pictures.) Or he would have them dubbed and edited for the Western market (Shaolin Soccer) and then delay the release. The financial success of Zhang Yimou's Hero (in a shortened version and delayed, though it was in its original language) may have changed things. Since then, the Brothers W have launched the Dragon Dynasty DVD line, which has given respectful and relatively lavish treatment to Asian action films. Now Variety reports that the Weinsteins plan to make three English-language Hong Kong films of their own.

In collaboration with Andrew Lau (pictured; co-director of the brilliant Infernal Affairs, the basis for Martin Scorsese's remake The Departed) and Tony Krantz (producer of TV show 24), The Weinstein Co. "will seek to redefine the traditional chopsocky movie." How? The films will be "driven more by plot and character than typical action fare" and will eschew wire work (a la Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) in favor of "more full-contact fighting" featuring "a new generation of action stars." Good luck with that, fellas. The Hong Kong film industry has been trying to develop new action stars for years without much success. Whatever the genre, Andrew Lau's previous Hong Kong films have striven to be populist entertainment, and he is truly an insider there, so it should be interesting to see what comes of all this. At minimum, the films will get released on DVD, and there's a possibility of theatrical release.
categories Movies, Cinematical