Are you interested in a movie with dragons, Jackie Chan, and Arnold Schwarzenegger? No, they’re not playing shuffleboard. And no, they’re not collaborating on an Alexandre Dumas movie.
Have a look.
This is a sequel to a 2014 Russian movie called Forbidden Kingdom, or Viy that starred British actor Jason Flemyng (Dr. Jekyll in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Lord Harwood in Pennyworth) as an English cartographer, Christopher Green, mapping Transylvania. Flemyng is back, this time mapping the Far East. His co-stars are Arnold Schwarzenegger (Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin, the Terminator in The Terminator, Conan in Conan the Barbarian, and former governor of California) as swordsman James Hook, Jackie Chan (Wong Fei-hung in The Legend of Drunken Master, Keung in Rumble in the Bronx, Passepartout in Around the World in 80 Days) as a gray-haired martial arts master, and Rutger Hauer (Etienne of Navarre in Ladyhawke, Earle in Batman Begins, and Roy Batty in Blade Runner) as an ambassador. Xingtong Yao plays Chen. Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister in Game of Thrones) plays Lord Dudley, reprising his role from the first film.
Despite the title, The Iron Mask doesn’t really draw much inspiration from The Man in the Iron Mask, beyond a subplot involving a character locked away in prison wearing an iron mask. That character isn’t even Schwarzenegger’s. No, it’s a Russian Tsar imprisoned in the Tower of London – who just so happens to be locked up in the cell next to Jackie Chan’s character, “Master”. Master is the one who orchestrates a jailbreak and winds up battling Schwarzenegger’s prison guard character, James Hook.
The trailer is doing its best to disguise the fact that neither Chan nor Schwarzenegger are the stars of the movie. In fact, they only appear for a few minutes during this Tower of London sequence.
Under the title Viy 2: Journey to China, it was released in China August 16, 2019, and released in the Philippines September 19, 2019 as The Dragon Seal. As Iron Mask, it will be released in the USA and the UK April 10, 2020. The movie has had many titles during production an international release: it is also known under the alternative titles Journey to China: The Mystery of Iron Mask, The Mystery of Dragon Seal, and The Dragon Seal.
The trailer does not reveal whether Schwarzenegger’s character is the same James Hook who later became a pirate and lost his hand, or merely someone with a similar name, but probably the latter.
Are you looking forward to Iron Mask? It was one of Rutger Hauer’s last films, and at 72, it may be one of Schwarzenegger’s last action roles. It may not be all that coherent as film concepts go, but it might be fun anyway. What do you think?
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.