Pegasus Rides in With ‘Z Storm,’ ‘Ip Man 3’

Pegasus Motion Pictures takes the wraps off its big budget crime thriller "Z Storm,” which is set for summer release.

Z Storm

Pegasus Motion Pictures on Monday (March 24) took the wraps off its big budget crime thriller “Z Storm,” which is set for summer release.

The company, formed in 2009 by Raymond Wong after he broke away from Mandarin Films, also updated plans for the much anticipated “Ip Man 3.”

Directed by David Lam, “Z Storm” starts as a simple enough police corruption investigation, but takes on political connotations when investigators unearth a massive financial fraud.

Significantly, it portrays the ICAC, Hong Kong’s 40-year-old anti-corruption body, in a three-way conflict among the police and the government. “This is fiction, not reality,” says producer John Chong, “and is different to the TV series that the ICAC funded.” (The ICAC’s four-decade-long role in funding film and TV production in Hong Kong is being celebrated this month by the Hong Kong Intl. Film Festival.) However, Chong likens the pacing and feel of the film to Fox’s U.S. TV series “24.” Others have made comparisons with “Infernal Affairs,” the hit film series that was produced at Media Asia when Chong, was one of the founding executives, was there.

“Z Storm” stars Louis Koo, Lo Hoi-pang and 1990s superstar Michael Wong, and has an official production cost of HK$60 million ($7.75 million).

That’s a big budget by modern Hong Kong standards, but is far from being the biggest on Pegasus’ slate.

Chong confirmed that the third installment of Pegasus’ internationally successful “Ip Man” franchise will move ahead in 2015 with the key elements from the first two films intact. Edmond Wong and Wilson Yip, now confirmed as major talents, are again on board as screenwriter and director, respectively. Raymond Wong will again produce and Donnie Yen is confirmed to star. The narrative continues the life story of martial arts master Ip, who late in life became Bruce Lee’s mentor, and who was the subject of two biopic films by Herman Yau, as well as Wong Kar-wai’s “The Grandmaster.”

The picture will be presented in 3D with delivery scheduled for late 2015 into the busy Christmas-Chinese New Year season. Budget is expected to be more than $30 million.

Pegasus will also produce “Wisely,” a suspense action thriller that is adapted from the novels (often transliterated as “Wesley’) by prolific Chinese novelist Ni Kuang. With a budget of $19.4 million, the film will need to be structured as a co-production with China and the screenplay has now received approval from China’s Film Bureau.