While the market for foreign cinema here in the States has grown, it isn't all that often that a foreign film - and especially a non-western one - strikes it big in America. There are, of course, Bollywood musical comedies or Japanese horror movies that become popular, but rarely does a non-English speaking film eclipse the popularity of our own home-grown entertainment.
That being said, there have obviously been foreign language films that have struck a chord with American audiences, and there's no reason Dragon Blade - a new historical epic from writer/director Daniel Lee (Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon), starring Jackie Chan, John Cusack, and Adrian Brody - could do just that. Give the first trailer for Dragon Blade a watch above.
Dragon Blade is inspired by the story of a Roman legion that supposedly made it all the way to China during the time of the Han dynasty. Seeking control of the "silk road" (the overland trade route between China and the West), General Tiberius (Brody) travels to China but is met by a resistance led by Huo An (Chan) - a Chinese military officer who was framed and later enslaved - and another Roman general, Lucius (Cusack).
And if you're thinking these three are the strangest trio of actors to appear in a quasi-historical, action-filled epic, you aren't alone. Neither Brody nor Cusack would be top picks to star in a film of this scale back home, and Chan is far better known for his comedic than dramatic roles. Still, there's something appealing about this trailer (that cheeseball of a line - "He took the place in your heart that belonged to me" - notwithstanding).
Perhaps it's because Brody easily embodies the arrogant and pompous nature of a Roman general, or that both Cusack and Chan are believable as underdogs who band together to achieve the unthinkable. There's also Lee's direction, which - though tough to judge by a trailer - appears to have captured the scope of Western China and the brutality of the battles fought there.
And as you surely noticed, this trailer is entirely in English, with the only dialogue coming from its two American actors. This was likely an intentional decision to gauge interest from the English-speaking market considering the film currently has no U.S. distributor or release date. The film itself, however, will feature most of its dialogue in Mandarin (with subtitles, of course, were it to release internationally).
With a budget of around $65 million, Dragon Blade is the most expensive Chinese-language film to date and will also star Choi Siwon and Lin Peng. Its release will coincide with the start of the Chinese New Year and will be available in IMAX 3D.
What do you make of this first trailer for Dragon Blade? Does it have the potential to be an international hit or one big, expensive mess? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
Dragon Blade releases in China on February 19th, 2015. As of now there is no information on a U.S. release. Stay tuned to Screen Rant for further details!