[UPDATE: Maybe Not] Troy Nixey Directing Donnie Yen In English Language Action Picture PRIORITY RUN

Todd Brown, Founder and Editor
[UPDATE: Though Arclight sent out an email to attendees of the American Film Market just yesterday describing Priority Run as being in pre-production with Yen in the lead and more cast to be announced at the AFM, representatives of the company have now reached out to say Yen's involvement is not yet confirmed and that they are currently in discussions with him. Time will tell if this long overdue English language leading role actually comes together for Yen.]

It's amazing it's taken so long, really. Though he has spent the bulk of his career in Hong Kong and China where his history in martial arts films has made him one of the most bankable action stars in the world, English language films have always been a sensible end game for Donnie Yen. Born and raised in Boston, Yen speaks flawless English to the point that he frequently conducts interviews for the bonus features on his Hong Kong releases in English rather than Chinese. And yet he's never really crossed over thanks in large part to the restrictive contract he signed with Miramax back in the lead up to the handover of Hong Kong back to China - a period that saw Yen working as a fight coordinator in Hollywood while taking on small roles in films such as Blade 2 and Highlander: Endgame without ever really being able to show off what he could do on screen. But that's ending now.

International sales company Arclight Films have announced that they are in pre-production on a new, English language action film with Yen in the lead to be directed by Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark's Troy Nixey with additional cast to be announced at the upcoming American Film Market. Here's the official synopsis:

Set to star fast rising action star Donnie Yen in his first English language movie, PRIORITY RUN takes us on highway to hell ride guarding the worst of the worst convicts as they're transported to a maximum security facility. But when the prison transport bus is ambushed on a remote stretch of highway by a sinister organization that appears intent on killing them all  for some mysterious motive, the guards face a nightmare dilemma -- release the most vicious criminals in the state or allow them to be slaughtered. Outnumbered and outgunned, its the most dangerous convict of them all with whom the guards must forge a precarious alliance with if they have any chance of surviving.
Yen, of course, already has an incredibly full slate so time will tell when this will fit in.

Around the Internet:
  • Trey Wilson

    Great script too. This will be kick ass!

  • Lex Mastermind Lotharr

    Donnie is awesome, I hope he doesn't sell out to Hollywood. Stay pure, Donnie, stay in Hong Kong.

  • Given the criteria he's been using to choose most of his HK / China projects in recent years, this is pretty funny.

  • Bobby Stryker

    To be honest, most of Yen's choreographed fights have turned out poorly. He's failed to recreate the excitement of the alley fight in SPL in every film he's choreographed since. Ip Man's fights were helmed by Sammo Hung. While I love the guy, I would love someone else being in charge of action choreography. Something like an Isaac Florentine directed Donnie vs Scott Adkins movie would definitely get my thumbs up!

  • DooK_Fresh

    Yen can pretty much choreograph any style in various types of action movies with creative approaches, which is why he's considered the best action director in the business right now. Blade 2, The Twins Effect, SPL, Dragon Tiger Gate, Flash Point, Ip Man (he co-choreographed the dojo scene, look it up), Legend of the Fist, The Lost Bladesman, Wu Xia, Special ID are all testaments to his overall craft and artistic skills. Each movie with fight choreography carefully conceptualized and appropriately plotted into the stories/characters. Yen is always striving to improve and do something new for each new movie which is why you probably don't enjoy his new films the same way you did with SPL. While I really enjoy the works of Florentine (Undisputed 2-3 in particular) he's getting too damn repetitive with his choreography now, only choreographing in one type of action movie and duplicating too much of the HK style that was already done better in the past.

  • Qinlong

    I disagree : Flashpoint, The Lost Bladesman, Legend of The Fist all featured some stunning fights choreographed and directed by Donnie Yen. Though I agree he should let himself be directed from time to time.

  • Bobby Stryker

    I guess each to his own. Those films you mentioned form the basis for my not wanting him to choreograph his own fight scenes. I didn't enjoy them and none of them seemed to live up to the magic of SPL or the first Ip Man movie. Now with Special ID, he's falling back into the realm of cheesy action movies with which he was more commonly associated in the 80s & 90s.

  • Sean Smithson

    I saw the original DON'T when it premiered as a kid, and it remains one of my favorite telehorror films, and I thought the Nixey (NOT GdT) version was admirable and full of atmosphere. LATCHEY'S LAMENT is amazing. So, instead of trying predicting how PRIORITY RUN is going to come out, I'll wait and watch the (hopefully) eventual film.

    Hopes are high.

  • davebaxter

    Oh, christ, Troy Nixey? This will be a waste, unless maybe Nixey takes as much of a back seat to Yen as he obviously did to del Toro in his last film, which, in that instance, was a mistake and just made for a forgettable "del Toro lite" experience with one of the stupidest horror scripts to come down the pike in a long while. Color me 101% unimpressed and spitting at this news.

  • I'm not sure how you're so negative on Nixey while also pinning everything you don't like about Don't Be Afraid of the Dark on other people ... at worst would that not imply we simply don't know what Nixey can really do yet?

  • davebaxter

    I'm not pinning anything on anyone not Tory Nixey. Either he's a non-entity as a director or he is just del Toro lite. Either way = he's no one to get excited about. I haven't heard anywhere that Nixey was hampered or dissatisfied with DARK, which additionally speaks toward his creative judgment.

  • kidlazarus

    Not sure if Nixey would be my first choice as an action film director. Always found his contribution to the comic book community to be top notch. I think his Latchkey's Lament short film is superior the Don't be Afraid of the Dark redux.

  • Sunwukong88

    Don't Be Afraid of The Dark....not exactly a great film. Im worried..

  • Gregory Cameron

    Yen starred opposite Jackie Chan in Shanghai Knights so this wouldn't be his first English language film.

  • DooK_Fresh

    'His first English-Language film as the lead'

  • bob

    sounds exactly like the last stand. instead of guns its martial arts.

  • DooK_Fresh

    Sounds like a good plot actually. Just give Yen the opportunity to handle the fight choreography too and I'm in!

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