It was probably the squeal 'heard round the world' for martial arts fans when Scott first reported on the historic pairing of Jet Li and Jackie Chan. That was over a year ago, and now Variety is reporting the film has just wrapped shooting and is ready for that special 'F/X touch'. Titled The Forbidden Kingdom, the story "is a loose adaptation of classic Chinese tale "The Monkey King" which sees an American teenager transported back to ancient China, where he learns about honor, loyalty and friendship, and the true meaning of Kung fu". It has been rumored that both Li and Chan will play the Kung fu masters who help the boy in his quest. Stuart Little director, Rob Minkoff, was at the helm, but Hong Kong cinematographer Peter Pau (Shoot 'em Up) was on hand to oversee the whole production. Pau is one of the most respected cinematographers in Hong Kong cinema, and won an Oscar for his work on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Unfortunately, he also was in charge of Dracula 2000. Oh well, they can't all be masterpieces.

The Forbidden Kingdom was shot on location in the Zhejiang Province over the summer. Now, the film is headed for South Korea for some final touches. According to Kingdom's producers, it will be the most expensive non-Korean film to use the state of the art facilities. The film has a current budget of $70 million, but we all know how these things can get away from you sometimes. There is no word on what kind of FX are being added, but when your leads are Jet Li and Jackie Chan, you know it's probably not going to be any physical stunts. The Forbidden Kingdom is set for release on April 18th, 2008.

[Thanks to Rotten Tomatoes' Kathryn Kenworth for the Jet-Jackie mockup.]
categories Movies, Cinematical