March 21, 2006


Sammo Hung will be directing HOWLING ARROW for SundreamThe news is coming out of the Hong Kong Filmart fast and furious. The most recent tidbit: Sammo Hung will be directing HOWLING ARROW for Sundream (the folks who are producing Jacob Cheung's BATTLE OF WITS). The film is about a group of gangsters in northeast China around the turn of the century and, according to the president of Sundream it will have roughly a US$16 million budget and he adds, "We aim to capture some of the unique characteristics of Hong Kong movies. The style of martial arts action design will be very realistic without heavy use of special effects.”

It's been 9 years since Sammo directed a movie, and that's 9 years too long. Although his films have rarely been hits they are absolutely breathtaking. If you're a Hong Kong movie fan at least one of his movies is in your top ten list, and most directors should be forced to watch his movies to learn how to use space. A lot of hoohah gets spouted about defining the space in action scenes but no one breathes more rambunctious life into this concept than Sammo. Even Jackie Chan's MR. NICE GUY has some nice work early on in an alley and the action scene that Sammo directed for THUNDERBOLT (in the pachinko parlor) makes you sit up and shut up because it's the best thing in this forgettable movie. But the final fight in MILLIONAIRE'S EXPRESS doubles as a map of the town in which it's taking place, and no other action director has handled a final fight unfolding simultaneously between multiple combatants as gracefully as Sammo in the finale of EASTERN CONDORS as the camera zooms, pans, tracks and glides from one fight to another. And has Jackie Chan ever been in an action scene that looked more like an art film than the final construction scene slapdown in HEART OF DRAGON?

Sammo, we've missed you wearing your magic director's hat. Nice to have you back.

March 21, 2006 at 09:09 AM in News | Permalink


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"The film is about a group of gangsters in northeast China around the turn of the century"

Turn of the century meaning late 1990's - early 2000's or late 1890's - early 1900's? If the latter, when do we start applying that phrase to the former?

Just wonderin'.

Posted by: Edshugeo The GodMoor | Mar 21, 2006 4:48:15 PM

Nobody, but nobody, knows how to use a camera to pull you into a fight scene the way he does. The camera becomes a participant in the action, and not in an incoherent, strap -the-Panaflex-to-a-paint-mixer BOURNE SUPREMACY kind of way. He just knows how and where to move the camera in a fight to maximise the effect. Not just fights either - the scene where Yuen Biao finally serves tea to Lam Ching Ying in THE PRODIGAL SON is simply how cinema is supposed to be. It's great to hear him not only directing, but directing something with a real budget behind it. I'm hoping for something special out of this - if anyone needed a career boost from SPL, it's Sammo. (Didn't Sammo do the garage fight in THUNDERBOLT as well?)

Posted by: Rhythm-X | Mar 21, 2006 7:44:46 PM

I think he did do the garage fight, but it's been a while since I saw it and what sticks out in my memory is that amazing pachinko beatdown.

And, you're right, I am hopelessly 20th Century. This movie is set at the turn of the last century, not the most recent one.

Posted by: Grady Hendrix | Mar 22, 2006 4:27:55 AM

very dear SAMMO, could you come in France ; here you've got a very important public and we miss you so ; we want shake your hand, talk with you, kiss friendly...
see you soon

Posted by: marie | Mar 29, 2006 3:08:33 PM

sammohung chinese website:


Posted by: DD | Apr 30, 2006 7:39:01 AM

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