The Chinese directing legend John Woo – known for big-budget action movies such as Face/Off and Mission Impossible II – is set to return to Hollywood for the first time since 2003.
But it doesn’t sound as if his return will be an easy sell – even if it does have studios buzzing to acquire it – for it will be a silent action movie.
Yes, you read that correctly. Silent Night starring Joel Kinnaman is set to be entirely dialogue-free. Deadline reports that the story will follow a normal father who heads into the underworld to avenge his son’s death. Capstone are in negotiations to finance the film with the producers behind the John Wick franchise onboard.
Woo was best known for the Hong Kong action thriller Hard Boiled (1992), before making the move to Hollywood and directing everyone from Jean-Claude Van Damme, John Travolta and Nicolas Cage to Tom Cruise. His last Hollywood movie was Paycheck in 2003, starring Ben Affleck. He returned to China and made historical films Red Cliff and The Crossing, which both had sequels. His most recent film was action thriller Manhunt (2017).
The involvement of the producers of John Wick will immediately lead to speculation as to whether 87eleven – Chad Stahelski and David Leitch’s stunt team – will also be involved. The stunt crew have been hugely influential on American action films in recent years, with their direct involvement in Atomic Blonde, The Bourne Legacy, Deadpool 2 and Hobbs & Shaw. Even when 87eleven has not actually worked on a project, John Wick’s influence has still been felt in pretty much every Hollywood action film since 2014.
It’s not as though John Woo is light on action credentials though – and his influence was certainly felt on the John Wick films – making the ouroboros complete. How a silent action movie is going to work is anyone’s guess, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s surely the master – John Woo. At least doves don’t make too much noise.