Arnold Schwarzenegger's post-politics career has been wild. He's made huge blockbusters, tiny little indies, mid-range genre films with auteurs, and a season of The Apprentice. My man has done it all. As if trying to prove a point, he also appears in the upcoming The Iron Mask, whose trailer just dropped and is something to behold.
The trailer bears the title The Iron Mask, but the film also goes by Journey To China: The Mystery of Iron Mask, Mystery of the Dragon Seal, and Viy 2: Journey to China. A Russian-Chinese co-production, it's a sequel to the 2014 Russian film Forbidden Empire, aka Viy, itself adapted from the same source as the 1967 Russian film Viy. From its title hierarchy alone, it already has the feel of an old-school international action co-production. You'd better watch the trailer to see what I'm talking about:
The more I read about this film, the more intrigued I am. While Forbidden Empire was the highest-grossing Russian film of 2014, this movie absolutely bombed in both Russia and China, making back only 10% of its budget. The "Iron Mask" of the title refers to the legendary French prisoner, only Russian, here imprisoned alongside Chan's character in the Tower of London by Schwarzenegger's character, named - I shit thee nay - James Hook. Whether or not Arnold's James Hook is the James Hook makes little difference: he and Chan clearly only appear in this movie for a single sequence. The movie actually follows Jason Flemyng and a host of supporting characters (a mostly Russian-Chinese cast that also includes Game of Thrones' Charles Dance and, incredibly, the late Rutger Hauer) on a merry chase through various mythologies and magics, some of which can be seen in the trailer. I've read multiple reviews to try to write this paragraph, and I still couldn't give you an elevator pitch for it.
Trailer looks about on point, then. We're going to see more of these co-productions as international markets become more lucrative; as the lines between national cinemas blur, things certainly get interesting. Unfortunately for The Iron Mask, they don't necessarily get profitable.
The Iron Mask hits cinemas and digital on April 10th. God help us all.