After Keanu Reeves enthusiastically professed that he knew kung-fu back in the days of The Matrix , the actor is finally getting back to the martial arts. Reeves has already wrapped on 47 Ronin, a retelling of the legend of a band of samurai who set out to restore their master’s honor. But Reeves is also working on his directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi, a story revolving around a young martial artist’s experiences in Beijing. The contemporary picture stars Tiger Chen (who worked on the stunt team in The Matrix) as the protagonist with Reeves himself as a villain. Casting notes aside, Reeves commented on the revolutionary camera work he’s using with Man of Tai Chi to both provide a new perspective on the fight scenes while keeping the cast, crew and camera from suffering any damage. Hit the jump to check out the proof-of-concept videos.
The Matrix brought us “bullet time” and “wire-fu,” further used in such films as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Now, it looks like Reeves may be bringing us a new version of action shot that I’m dubbing “cam-fu” (Forgiveness, please). Check out the video of a fight scene from Man of Tai Chi with Reeves’ commentary and the new camera in action (via TwitchFilm):
He’s going to need to be precise with that thing flying around the actors, especially due to the number of fights Reeves expects to have in Man of Tai Chi:
“There’s 18 fights. We’ve timed it out. It’s about 40 minutes of fighting. I want to make a good, solid kung fu movie. Good story, good plot—but let’s get some good kung fu going!”
You can also check out this demonstration of the amazingly versatile and dexterous Bot & Dolly camera rig:
It’s nice to see Reeves expressing interest in cinematography and sharing it with his audiences. On that note, he recently produced and presented Side by Side, a documentary on the ongoing discussion between the use of film versus digital for features.