Variety is reporting that Dreamworks, the studio powerhouse formed by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen, has optioned a comic book derived film. Band of Brothers writer Bruce McKenna is writing the script for The Hands of Shang Chi, which is based on the long-running Marvel title Master of Kung Fu. Woo-Ping Yuen, the brilliant fight choreographer whose skillful wire work enhanced the Matrix films, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and so many Hong Kong films that Variety dubbed him 'the Ballanchine of chopsocky,' will direct the Dreamworks version of the Master of Kung Fu, which the studio describes as a 'Godfather in reverse,' since the martial artist hero rebels against his corrupt billionaire father and the family's mob-supported businesses.
Dreamwork spokesman Michael De Luca provided Variety with a succinct summation of what the studio wants from this project, which he compared to Blade, a relatively obscure comic that was turned into a solid movie franchise, 'We want it reasonably priced, visually distinctive, and totally cool.' Variety sees The Hands of Shang Chi as an exemplar of a second wave of comic book based films that don't involve well-known superheroes awesome powers. Films such as The Punisher and Ghost Rider and the Michael Mann project, Tonight, He Comes, focus on the all too human side of these four color heroes.