There are few people that are aware of the growing movie market overseas. Thailand is emerging as a serious threat in the martial arts action genre with the help of Tony Jaa (Ong Bak); Russia is proving they can make a slick and entertaining film thanks to studios like Disney (Black Lightning); and, of course, Japan has always been the source for many Hollywood studios’ “inspired” horror remakes (The Ring, The Grudge). One foreign market that tends to be brushed off as only doing kung-fu or martial art films is China.

Today we have a trailer for a new Asian film which has the odd IMDB genre label of romance/sci-fi called Ci Ling (Treasure Hunter). Why are we at Screen Rant sharing this trailer with you? Because Treasure Hunter stars an actor most English-speaking audiences may not be familiar with yet, but will be next year: Jay Chou. Chou is also playing Kato opposite Seth Rogen in the upcoming re-imagining of The Green Hornet. We thought you might a first-look at how the actor does onscreen.

Here’s the synopsis for Treasure Hunter and the trailer after the jump:

In the northwest desert where countless prosperous dynasties have flourish and fall, there is rumor of a treasure of unbelievable riches buried among it. A group of mysterious guardians have been guarding the map to the location of the treasure until a fierce rivalry erupted. A notorious international crime group, The Company, hunted down the map keeper and before they managed to secure the map, the keeper passed the map to a young chivalrous man Ciao Fei (Jay Chou). Ciao Fei was forced to give up the map to save the life of his mentor’s daughter Lan Ting (Lin Chi Ling). Teaming up with Hua Ding Bang (a famous archaeologist) and Lan Ting they embark on a dangerous journey to recover the map and fight to protect the ancient treasure.

I like the look of Treasure Hunter and even though it will never open in American theaters – unless it’s remade by Stephen Sommers, starring Brendan Fraser and Nicolas Cage in the renamed “National Treasure: Mummy Hunter”- I still look forward to watching it on DVD in a few months.

If the truth be known, a hefty portion of martial arts experts from China are fight choreographers for big Hollywood productions. Other films usually glazed over by American audiences, are the sweeping epics that China has produced in the recent years: Curse of the Golden Flower, House of Flying Daggers, and my personal favorite, Hero. I think it has something to do with American audiences’ disinterest in reading subtitles.

…And hose are just the films that make it into American theaters, thanks to the help and persuasion of people like Quentin Tarantino, who is a HUGE Asian cinema fan. There are plenty of bankable Asian actors that English audiences are familiar with: Jackie Chan (The Drunken Master), Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle), Jet Li (Black Mask), Chow Yun-Fat (Confucius), Maggie Cheung (Hero), Donnie Yen (Iron Monkey), and Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon). Odds are pretty good that you’ve seen at least one of each of those actors’ films and had to read the dialog in subtitles.

What do you think about Jay Chou, Treasure Hunter and Asian cinema, like it, hate it or open to it?

Treasure Hunter opens in Asian theaters December 31, 2009. The Green Hornet opens December 22, 2010.

Source: Twitch