While both of their stars have faded a bit in recent times, there was a sweet spot in the ’90s when Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan were two of the biggest names in action films, comedies, and often a merger of both. As both were immigrants from humble beginnings who went on to make millions in the States, they seemed to embody the American dream in its truest sense. Chan even recently received an honorary Oscar, and has completed 200 films at this point. Both he and Schwarzenegger have become iconic in their own right and the idea of them joining forces for a project is one that’s been eagerly anticipated for years.
That project won’t be the next Expendables movie, however, as many would surmise. In 2014, the long-gestating film Viy (known as Forbidden Empire internationally) was finally released. Based on a Russian fable, the movie spent years in development. Since then, the producers have tried to follow it up without much success. Then came some new funding from a Chinese studio and the addition of Chan and Schwarzenegger.
Screen Anarchy has released the first official image of Chan and Schwarzenegger together in the film, which has now officially been re-titled as Journey to China: The Iron Mask Mystery. A Russian trailer has also been released for the film (see below), though it oddly doesn’t feature either of the stars in the footage.
Aside from Schwarzenegger and Chan, the film also stars Jason Flemyng and Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister from Game of Thrones) and looks to blend campy comedy with fantasy action. The tone is right up Chan’s wheelhouse, and it’s nice to see Schwarzenegger’s continued return to the screen after taking time away to serve as California’s governor.
While the original Viy was a big hit in Russia, it failed to make much of an impression in the rest of the world. With China’s burgeoning film industry and the addition of two huge names like Schwarzenegger and Chan, the follow-up may find success where the original did not. The film has recently finished shooting and is now in post-production. There’s no release date yet, but it is expected to hit Russian theaters next year and may follow up in international markets soon after. We’ll bring you more news about Journey to China: The Iron Mask Mystery as it emerges.