Hollywood has long abandoned the cheesy, hard-hitting martial arts films of the 80s and 90s, but the genre has still continued to flourish on DTV and foreign markets despite that, giving us such action franchises as Ong Bak, The Raid, Undisputed, Kill Zone and Ip Man.
Last year, it was reported that Chad Stahelski (John Wick, John Wick: Chapter Two) and Wang Xiaolie (Fan House Compound) would be directing a martial arts film called Triple Threat (aka Makeshift Squad) dsscribed as the Asian Expendables about a Chinese martial artist who goes to Mexico to rescue his ex-wife and their son who have been kidnapped by a drug cartel. Tiger Chen (Man of Tai Chi) will portray the lead while being backed up by Tony Jaa (xXx: Return of Xander Cage, Kill Zone 2) and Iko Uwais (Headshot, The Raid 2: Berandal). There’s been no other updates on this project since November, but a flurry of announcements last week have since added to the cast and crew.
First up, it appears that Stahelski and Xiaolie will no longer be behind the lens on this one. Instead, Jesse V. Johnson (Accident Man, Savage Dog) will be taking over. Also, Michael Jai White, Scott Adkins and Michael Bisping have signed on in undisclosed roles. This will be White and Adkins’ fourth collaboration following Undisputed 2, Metal Hurlant Chronicles and Accident Man and White’s second project with Jaa, after starring in Skin Trade with Dolph Lundgren. Bisping is coming off his Hollywood debut, xXx: Return of Xander Cage, making this his second collaboration with Jaa as well. Fight choreographer Tim Man (Boyka: Undisputed, Eliminators) will be designing the fights, making this project his second with Jaa and White and his fifth with Adkins.
Second, screenwriters Joey O’Bryan (Lupin the 3rd, Fulltime Killer) and Paul Staheli (Nest, Pressure) have come onboard the project, but its unknown if they are working off the previous draft of the script penned by Dwayne Alexander Smith (Free Fall, Two Bedrooms) or rewriting it from scratch. So, while story details are flimsy at the moment, the fact that we’re going to see Chen, Uwais, Jaa, White, Adkins and Bisping in some kickass martial arts battles is more than enough reason to get excited. Pre-production is currently underway in Thailand with an expected May shooting date.
Check back for more information as it becomes available.