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Hong Kong director to take on American McGee's Alice films

Hong Kong director, producer and writer Tsui Hark — creator of action films including Once Upon a Time in China and Seven Swords — has signed on to assist production on American McGee's Alice: Otherlands films, according to an update on the project's Kickstarter page.

In a post, series creator McGee writes that Hark's work, such as Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame, "contain some of my favorite cinematic skull smacking and butt kicking moments." McGee hopes that Hark's addition to the project will add a more action focus to the Alice: Otherlands short films, as previous Alice films — namely Tim Burton's 2010 take on Lewis Carroll's story — treat Alice like an "empty bag, blowing in the wind." According to McGee, it feels as if she isn't even in the movie, and instead of making things happen she simply lets things happen to her.

"For a character whose main obstacle is indecisiveness, you'd expect her final triumph to materialize in a flurry of blades and blood — a definitive signal that this girl isn't just along on someone else's ride," he writes. "But no. It might have been a Burton film — and I'm certain that left to control the enterprise alone he would have delivered — but more than anything it was a Disney film. Can't be splattering blood all over the place. And god forbid a girl kick someone's ass."

"Alice wanders in the eye-boggling fantasy land," reads an accompanying statement by Hark. "The madness and violence reveal the inner power of a teenager fighting in a hypocrite world of the adult villains. I can already see the impact of the story as a movie. I'd be more than enthusiastic to participate in any effort to make it possible for Alice to come alive on the big screen. I'd join the team to make this project a wonderful success."

The Kickstarter project for Alice: Otherlands, a series of short films that will serve as the final part of McGee's Alice trilogy, launched earlier this month. The campaign will close on Aug. 4.