The big-budget epic "DRAGON BLADE" marks a new milestone in Jackie Chan's career

The Protection Squad

Jackie Chan waited seven years for this. This February, everyone can finally see why Dragon Blade is such an important film for the beloved action legend.  Aside from being the lead star, he is also the film's producer and action choreographer. All his hard work is for a noble purpose.  And everything began with a meeting with Director Daniel Lee.

            While discussing potential projects together seven years ago, Lee told Chan the legend of a Roman legion coming into China, and Chan asked him to develop it into a full screenplay.  The two agreed on the main theme of the movie - that people from different races can live in harmony.  Lee followed it up with extensive research, even attending a touring exhibition called "The Two Empires: the Eagle and the Dragon".  The resulting script is the compelling story of an alliance between a Chinese warrior named Huo An and a Roman commander called Lucius, fighting a power-hungry Roman ruler that is Tiberius.  Together with Jackie Chan, bringing these characters to life are Hollywood superstars John Cusack (Being John Malkovich) and Adrien Brody (The Pianist). 

The blades of Jackie Chan and John Cusack clash

            In Dragon Blade, Huo An (Jackie Chan) is the Commander of the Silk Road Protection Squad that protects China from invaders.  Wrongfully accused of treason, he and his men are sent as slave laborers to repair the city walls of Wild Geese Gate, a forsaken trading post in the desert.  Meanwhile, Lucius (John Cusack) is fleeing his land with his legion of soldiers and a boy named Publius whom he is protecting from the ruthless Tiberius (Academy Award Best Actor Adrien Brody).  Their journey led them to the Wild Geese Gate where they encounter Huo An's troops.  A battle ensues, but the two leaders surprisingly become comrades.  But Tiberius (Adrien Brody), who has killed his own father and blinded his younger brother Publius, is not far behind.  Arriving with a giant army, he demands that Huo An hand over Lucius and Publius.  As Lucius and Huo An join forces to take Tiberius down, an even bigger conspiracy involving the fate of China unravels. 

The duel between Jackie Chan and Adrien Brody is the climax of the film

            An epic story calls for a grand production, and Dragon Blade is making records for its US$65 Million budget, making it one of the most expensive films in history.  100,000 film props were used, 60,000 of which had been handcrafted.  Director Daniel Lee admits that the amount of props made for Dragon Blade is larger than any of his previous films, but it is necessary to give justice to the historical scenes.  To build and store these props, the production team had to build a warehouse with a floor area of 2,500 square meters.  Even Jackie Chan marvels at the scale of the warehouse, saying, "You’ll definitively be stunned if you take a tour around it."  He has also been part of the film's key creative team from concept to the construction of the large-scale props. The prop team jokes that “he did most of the work on set."

There are a lot of great scenes in Dragon Blade movie

  Jackie Chan and his stunt team handled the action sequences that are at the center of the film.  Since most of the cast did not have an action background, the team trained the actors and designed the sequences around them.  Chan himself trained John Cusack during breaks, teaching him tricks in sword-fighting. 

The 36 nations of the Western region

            700 crew members of different nationalities worked on set, speaking more than ten languages including Mandarin, Cantonese, English, Korean, French, German and Russian.  Despite their differences, everyone worked hand in hand in overcoming the many obstacles in filming.  Shot in China's western frontier, the cast and crew had to endure extreme weather conditions, like the  continuous rain in Hengdian and the countless sandstorms in Aksai. Tents and camera equipment got damaged, the cast had to endure the unbearable heat (sometimes above 50 degrees Celsius) wearing heavy armor, furs and overcoats with an average shooting day that lasted 14 to 15 hours.  Jackie Chan said that conditions were so unbearable to be beyond one's imagination.  But just like the character of Huo An who never loses faith in his dream of peace, they all carried on, moving forward, helping each other create the unique action epic.

Choi Si-won of Super Junior in one of his many scenes with Jackie Chan

            Dragon Blade also stars a couple of Asian heartthrobs: Choi Si-Won, from Korea's popular boy band Super Junior, who plays Huo An's right-hand man; and Vanness Wu, from Taiwan's F4 & Meteor Garden phenomenon, who himself filmed in 40-degree heat without shade and dressed in full winter gear as the contemporary archeologist who finds an ancient military journal that reveals the story of the lost Roman legion in China.  Describing the film, Wu says, "I believe the audience will be moved to tears.”

            Catch this remarkable story of peace and heroism.  Dragon Blade opens in cinemas on February 18.  From Viva International Pictures and MVP Entertainment.

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