LONDON — Bill Kong’s Edko Films, Irresistible Films and Universal Pictures Intl. have inked a partnership on the highly anticipated Chinese kung-fu action film “Rise of the Legend,” which brings the martial arts icon Wong Fei Hung back on screen.

UPI, through its division Universal Pictures Intl. Prodn., is co-producing the film and UPI has acquired all rights in international territories, including North America (but excluding Asia), to the production directed by Roy Chow, and starring Peng Yuyan in the title role.

“Rise of the Legend,” currently in post-production, is co-produced by Edko Films, Irresistible Films, UPI, vfxNova Digital Prods., and BDI Films.

Chow (“Murderer,” “Nightfall”) directs from a screenplay written by his longtime collaborator Christine To. Also starring in the film are Sammo Hung, Wang Luodan, Jing Boran, Wong Cho Lam and Zhang Jin, with special appearances by Tony Leung Ka-fai and Angelababy. The film is set for release this year.

It will be distributed and marketed in Asia by Edko Films, and internationally by UPI.

UPI’s president of distribution, Duncan Clark, said, “In China, the exponential growth in the local market presents great opportunities and Universal is committed to working with emerging and established partners to bring fresh and exciting projects to local audiences.”

Kong, head of Edko Films and producer of the film, said: “We collaborated with Universal back in 2006 and achieved optimal results. Released through Universal in the U.S., ‘Fearless,’ starring Jet Li, was screened in over 1,800 theaters and ranked second place in its opening weekend, grossing over RMB200million at the box office during its run.

“We think Western audiences will respond to ‘Rise of the Legend’ just as strongly as they did to ‘Fearless.’ We are confident ‘Rise of the Legend’ will revive the kung-fu genre and the modern Wong Fei Hung character portrayed by Peng Yuyan will appeal to moviegoers of all ages, local and abroad.”

Hugh Simon of Irresistible Films added: “We are very excited about our movie ‘Rise of the Legend’ because we have not only an amazingly talented cast led by Peng Yuyan and Sammo Hung under the creative direction of Roy Chow, but also some of the new technologies we are using will thrill the audiences. We are delighted that Universal shares our enthusiasm and is partnering with Irresistible in the rejuvenation of such a famous story.”