Triple Threat (formely Makeshift Squad) has been a bookmark for many an Asian cinema fan looking to see just how this particular "Asian-Expendables" kind of movie this will bring about. The prospects have been good, too, and notably in the wake of its casting additions including headliners Tiger Chen (Man Of Tai Chi), Tony Jaa (Furious Seven) and Iko Uwais (Headshot), and particularly with 87eleven's own Chad Stahelski (John Wick: Chapter 2) behind the action scenes.
Bearing all this in mind, an attached director has not been entirely certain with earlier names Gary Mak and Wang Xiaolie having circled the project, the latter reported by the time of its acquisition over at international sales outfit Arclight Films late last year. Moreover, with Stahelski poised to move forward with a hopeful third installment of the hit John Wick franchise after Lionsgate's Highlander reboot, it bears asking what, if anything has changed?
For this, we can now report that a source close to the production has confirmed Jesse V. Johnson to direct the film which tells of our aforementioned trio starring as tough Asian mercenary types reuniting after years apart to foil a nefarious plot. In addition, we can report the additions of extra martial arts action movie muscle with actors Michael Jai White, Scott Adkins and Michael Bisping rounding out the current cast. Exact story details are yet to be fully known while another writer has been attached to pen the script following a previous draft written by Dwayne Smith.
Monday's casting additions mark several reunions themselves with Adkins, having battled across the astral planes opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in Marvel's Doctor Strange, sharing credits with White on Isaac Florentine's Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing and France 4 TV series, Metal Hurlant Chronicles. Both recently paired once more for Johnson's forthcoming British comic book adaptation, Accident Man which is now in post-production with Ray Stevenson, Ashley Greene, Ray Park and Amy Johnston also starring from a script by Stu Small, and Adkins who also produces. The film also marks another paring for White with fellow Skin Trade star Jaa, the latter who also joined Bisping, the current UFC Middleweight Champion, who made his own film stint in Paramount's xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage which has grossed nearly $340 million dollars at the box office.
Pre-production is underway in Thailand with Seng Stunt Team comprising the framework of the film's stunt performance with fight choreography led by Tim Man who designed the action seen in Adkins starrers Ninja 2: Shadow Of A Tear, and James Nunn's Eliminators, as well as Johnson's Accident Man in which Man also co-stars. Cameras are expected to roll in May.
Johnson's latest completed action film, Savage Dog, which joins Adkins with JuJu Chan, Marko Zaror and Cung Le will release later this year in the U.S. from XLrator Media, as will the director's upcoming action romance noir, The Beautiful Ones, from Gravitas Ventures. Release details for Adkins's latest contribution to the ringside MMA fervor in Todor Chapkanov's Boyka: Undisputed, remain pending following its Fantastic Fest 2016 premiere.
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