SPL: Three generations of martial arts superstars have joined forces for Wilson Yip’s upcoming action drama SPL (working title), currently nearing the end of its four-month long Hong Kong shoot.

Produced by Carl Chang with backing from Abba Chan’s Abba Movies, the $3.8m production stars martial arts legend and The Legend of Zu star Sammo Hung along with BLADE 2’s Donnie Yen and up and coming star and wushu champion Wu Jing. Simon Yam, whose credits include Tomb Raider 2 and Johnnie To’s PTU, also has a lead role in the film.

Described by Chang as a dark action drama, the film revolves around the psychological battle between a ruthless mafia boss (Hung), who has killed off the family of a police witness, and a cop (Yam) who has taken it upon himself to raise the one surviving family member. The English working title, SPL, is derived from the initials of three renegade stars in Chinese astrology which take on good or evil characteristics depending on their position in the heavens.

According to Chang, the film will be heavy on both action sequences and drama. “We’ve recently had some successful films that were strong on drama but didn’t contain much action, while the old style kung-fu films had all the moves but were weak on drama,” Chang explains. “With this film, we hope to combine both elements.” Yen, whose credits as actor or action director include Hero, Shanghai Knights, Hong Kong blockbuster The Twins Effect and the Japanese production The Princess Blade will be over seeing those extensive action sequences.

Brian B.