Keanu Reeves knows Kung Fu. I know this because he clearly told us this back in 1999, before beating the green hell of out anything in a black suit and an earpiece. His pugilistic turn in The Matrix would certainly change the use of Martial Arts by non-martial artists in a western film, and with his upcoming directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi, he’s looking to do it again.
And just like with The Matrix’s “bullet time”, it will once again be cutting edge technology that makes the revolution possible.
Called the Bot & Dolly, it’s a new remote operated camera system than can be programmed to take predetermined route in a scene, and because of the actuated robotic arm that it sits on, it can go places and get shots that a traditional cameraman could not. The result is the type of unbroken kinetic cinematography usually achieved in CGI films, but this time done with real life actors.
Have those actors also be accomplished martial artists throwing a barrage of fists and punches at each other, and work these these new camera angles into the actual fight choreography and you have something very impressive, as this proof of concept video (which Keanu loaded to his Youtube page) clearly shows:
To think that the same guy who used to shred air guitar and end every sentence in either “dude”, “whoa” or “whoa, dude” is now poised to be driving a martial arts revolution. If you had told me that two decades ago, I would probably have revolutionized some martial arts of my own on your face.
Man of Tai Chi is now currently shooting in Beijing, China, in both Mandarin and English. The film reteams Keanu Reeves with Village Roadshow Pictures Asia, who also helped produce The Matrix moves. Village Roadshow, along with the China Film Group, have put 200 million yuan (approximately $31 million) up for the film, which sees Reeve’s own Kung Fu coach and one of the principle members of The Matrix fight team, Tiger Chen, assume the lead role as a young martial artist in contemporary Beijing whose abilities lead him into great opportunity as well as conflict. Reeves will also be stepping out from behind the camera to play the film’s villain, while Hong Kong actress/singer Karen Mok will be playing the film’s female lead.
Reeves will certainly have his work cut out for him with this Bot& Dolly system as the film is going to get pretty fight heavy, as he revealed to MTV not too long ago:
“There’s 18 fights. We’ve timed it out. It’s about 40 minutes of fighting. I want to make a good, solid kung fu movie. Good story, good plot—but let’s get some good kung fu going!”
Last Updated: June 25, 2012