Vincent Zhao’s (趙文卓) new movie, Wu Dang <大武當之天地密碼>, promises to be a visual feast for martial arts fans! After 100 years of concealment, a Wudang treasure map surfaced in early Republic of China, sparking droves of martial arts experts to flock to Wudang Mountains. The film opens across China on July 6th.
The movie features real life Chinese kung fu stars Vincent Zhao, Louis Fan (樊少皇), and Dennis To (杜宇航), and actresses Yang Mi (楊冪) and Xu Jiao (徐嬌). Dennis To starred in The Legend is Born – Ip Man <葉問前傳> while Xu Jiao was best known for her comedic performance in Stephen Chow’s (周星馳) CJ7 <長江七號>. Wu Dang’s premiere was held on June 28th, with Dennis To and Vincent Zhao demonstrating Chinese martial arts live.
The story is set in the early days of the Republic of China stint on Chinese mainland. Following its century-long concealment, a Wudang Mountains treasure map re-emerges. The ultimate winner will be bestowed the world’s best martial arts master honor, together with the map – which indicates the locations of Wudang’s 7 greatest treasures. As the contest unfolds, a dazzling array of long-hidden Wudang Sect martial arts is once again shown to the world.
A torrent of kungfu masters from all over the country to fight each other in the competition in the Wudang Mountains. These include Yang Mi’s mysterious character, “Tianxin” and Tang Yunlong’s (唐雲龍) archaeology professor, known in the film as “Tortoise” and Louis Fan’s Wudang Sect member “Oneness with Water.”
Vincent Zhao, who portrays “White Dragon Taoist Master,” recalled the challenging filming process. He had to wear very thin clothing on days when the temperatures were several degrees minus Celsius. “One of the battling scenes took 7 days to film and I was having very bad diarrhoea. During those few days my biggest fear was suddenly feeling desperate to have a bowel movement while filming.”
To immerse in the strong emotions of his onscreen character, Vincent was asked by the director to imagine his daughter bringing home a boyfriend that he abhorred. This allowed Vincent to experience his character’s emotions when his daughter (played by Xu Jiao) dated Louis Fan’s character. Vincent said, “In Wu Dang, each character has his own kung fu. Yang Mi’s is common, Xu Jiao’s is pretty, Louis’ is silly, and mine is decent.”
Wu Dang’s release coincides with blockbuster, Painted Skin II: The Resurrection in 3D <畫皮2>. Asked whether he was afraid that the two films will be competing head-to-head, Vincent simply replied, “Each film has its own selling points. Painted Skin II features special effects, while Wu Dang shows real kung fu screen.”
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