Why KFK is Excited about Donnie Yen “Kung Fu” Remake for Universal

A wise master of kung fu, qigong, and Chan Buddhism sets a high bar for his young apprentice in the Shaolin Temple to meet – when he can snatch the pebble in his hand from him, his training will be complete.

Millions of viewers in the early ‘70s tuned in to see David Carradine’s Kwai Chang Caine complete his training and take his knowledge of kung fu to the old West in the beloved TV series “Kung Fu”, which later saw a revival in the ‘80s as “Kung Fu: The Legend Continues”.

Now, several decades later, the legend is indeed preparing to continue once more, and this time, with none other than Hong Kong martial arts legend Donnie Yen on-board as the leading man of the Universal Pictures upcoming “Kung Fu” remake.

Sweetening that already delectable deal is the additional news of the “Kung Fu” remake being shepherded by David Leitch’s 87North Productions! And here is why KFK is excited!

Everything We Know About Universal’s “Kung Fu” Remake

ICYMI, per The Hollywood Reporter, David Leitch has been developing a modern remake of “Kung Fu” through his production company 87 North Productions since 2020, and the news of Donnie Yen boarding the project is the first major public development for it.

Speaking of Donnie’s involvement, Leitch tells THR: “Donnie Yen is both an immensely talented actor and an action film legend, and it is a privilege to have a true martial arts master leading this global film…

With Donnie in place as our leading man, it will be a thrill to collaborate with him, our creative partners, and Universal in reimagining this beloved story for the big screen.”

Beyond that, there aren’t many definitive details on the “Kung Fu” reboot, though David Leitch is also said to not only be producing through 87North, but could also possibly direct the new take on the beloved martial arts Western.

The stuntman-turned-director is certainly keeping his plate full following his 2014 break co-directing “John Wick” with Chad Stahelski.

Will “Kung Fu” See Donnie Portray a New Take on David Carradine’s Character?

With Leitch’s subsequent solo directorial success with “Atomic Blonde”, “Deadpool 2”, “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw”, and “Bullet Train”, he’s clearly grown into one of the go-to action movie directors, with this summer’s upcoming “The Fall Guy” adding another action-packed crowd-pleaser to his pre-“Kung Fu” resume.

The exact nature of Donnie Yen’s role in “Kung Fu” is also somewhat ambiguous apart from the basic news of Donnie being the remake’s leading man.

The big question is whether “Kung Fu” will see Donnie portraying a new take on David Carradine’s original Shaolin monk wandering protagonist Kwai Chang Caine, or whether “Kung Fu” will focus on Donnie portraying a new hero and master of kung fu.

Should the former be the case, it certainly unveils a rather unexpected irony of Donnie Yen going from Caine in “John Wick: Chapter 4” to Caine in “Kung Fu”.

All joking aside, the involvement of Donnie Yen, David Leitch, and 87North Productions is all the news “Kung Fu” needs to capture the attention of martial arts movie lovers as one of the most exciting upcoming martial arts flicks on the horizon.

What makes that news even better is that the new take on “Kung Fu” probably won’t stop there.

Donnie Yen is Probably Just the Beginning for “Kung Fu”

Looking at the history of every action movie overseen by the 87Eleven gang, virtually every one of them is full of martial artists and stunt pros galore.

The roster of martial arts movie legends on the “John Wick” franchise alone speaks for itself, with Donnie Yen himself being just one of many that also includes Mark Dacascos, Scott Adkins, Marko Zaror, Yayan Ruhian, Cecep Arif Rahman, and many others.

Adding in the pedigree of genuine martial arts greats seen in David Leitch’s solo directing career, it goes without saying that a project titled “Kung Fu” is sure to be populated with an abundance of martial artists alongside Donnie Yen himself.

“Kung Fu” is Sure to be Populated with an Abundance of Martial Artists

Immediately, some of Donnie’s fellow Hong Kong stars like Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Michelle Yeoh, Sammo Hung, Wu Jing, and many others spring to mind.

Additionally, martial arts stars outside of the Hong Kong stable could also be strong candidates to pop up in “Kung Fu”, including Scott Adkins, Marko Zaror, Michael Jai White, and Iko Uwais.

With other contemporary up-and-comers like Philip Ng, Tiger Chen, JuJu Chan Szeto, Tiger Shroff, and Shi Yan Neng having established themselves in recent years, Donnie Yen is probably just the tip of the iceberg of what could be one hell of a martial arts movie ensemble in “Kung Fu”.

Donnie’s Got The Next Half Decade Mapped Out

As if headlining the modern cinematic reboot of such a groundbreaking martial arts TV series wasn’t plenty to tackle, Donnie Yen is also moving full steam ahead on a slew of different action projects.

Donnie is currently finishing up work on his upcoming Hong Kong action movie “Misjudgment”, one of three Hong Kong projects announced by Donnie himself last year, with the other two being a sequel to his 2007 MMA classic “Flash Point” (potentially including Scott Adkins in its ensemble, no less), and even more surprisingly, “Ip Man 5”.

The news of the latter was a surprise of the pleasant sort, but a surprise nonetheless considering that 2019’s “Ip Man 4: The Finale” was both explicitly marketed as the conclusion of the series and even ended with Ip Man’s funeral.

Still, with the immense global popularity of the “Ip Man” franchise, slotting “Ip Man 5” into the timeline sometime before Ip Man’s passing should be relatively doable.

Additionally, Donnie has also expressed interest in returning as Caine in a spin-off from “John Wick: Chapter 4” in an interview with Variety.

However, Donnie’s comments on such a spin-off seem less like teasing and more of a formality, considering that the end-credits scene of “John Wick: Chapter 4” explicitly sets up Caine’s confrontation with the vengeful Akira Shimazu (Rina Sawayama).

With four big projects on the horizon and one already nearing the end of filming, Donnie’s involvement with “Kung Fu” seems to lend further credence to the idea that he has more-or-less planned out the next half decade of his career.

Where “Kung Fu” ultimately falls in the timeframe of Donnie’s numerous slated projects remains unclear, though David Leitch’s potential attachment as director of both “Kung Fu” and the next “Jurassic World” could place it a bit down the line.

In any case, with “Kung Fu” entering development with Donnie Yen and David Leitch attached, the possibility of a reboot of the classic TV series with both Hong Kong and 87Eleven-style action sounds absolutely to die for to the eyes, ears, and all other senses of martial arts aficionados around the world!

Stay tuned for more info on Universal and 87North’s’s “Kung Fu” remake!

Are you excited to see Donnie Yen in the modern take on “Kung Fu” with David Leitch and the 87North gang also on-board (rhetorical question, obviously!)?

What are some of your favorite Donnie Yen movies? What are some of your favorite action movies from the 87 Eleven crew? Let us know in the comments below; Like, share and join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram!

IF YOU CAN’T SNATCH THE PEBBLE FROM OUR HANDS, don’t worry, you can still ENTER the KINGDOM of FU, check out our list of Donnie Yen’s best martial arts movie fights, exclusive interviews, STAMP YOUR FU in KFK gear and subscribe for more FABULOUS FIGHTS on YouTube!

Brad Curran

From the earliest days of childhood, Brad Curran was utterly fascinated by martial arts, his passion only growing stronger after spending time living in the melting pot of Asian cultures that is Hawaii. His early exposure developed into a lifelong passion and fascination with all forms of martial arts and tremendous passion for action and martial arts films. He would go on to take a number of different martial arts forms, including Shaolin Ch'uan fa, Taekwondo, Shotokan Karate and remains a devoted student, avid and eager to continue his martial arts studies. Brad is also an aspiring writer and deeply desires to share his love for martial arts and martial arts movies with the world!

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