The Storm Riders was a riotously silly martial arts fantasy that divided audiences when it was released in 1998 -- either you got with the groove and rocked out to the comic book style writ large or you fled in terror from its extravagant empty exercise in style over substance. Initially I recoiled from its excesses, but a second viewing (only partially influenced by a moderate intake of a certain alcoholic beverage) was much more enjoyable. To get a better idea of the craziness, check out Kozo's review at LoveHKFilm.com.

Directed by Andrew Lau (Infernal Affairs), The Storm Riders was a huge hit and a much-needed shot in the arm for the beleaguered post-Handover Hong Kong film industry. Given the industry's proclivity for churning out sequels in rapid succession, it's rather surprising that a direct sequel was not immediately forthcoming, but soon the wait will be over. Screen Daily is reporting that Universe Entertainment has hired Danny and Oxide Pang (The Eye, The Messengers) to helm a sequel.

The original film was based on a comic book series and featured an all-star lineup headlined by Aaron Kwok and Ekin Cheng. Three months ago, Grady Hendrix of Kaiju Shakedown reported that one of the Pang Brothers was interested in buying the rights to the comic book; his version would be unrelated to Andrew Lau's film but with Chen and Kwok returning as the heroes, Wind and Cloud (cool character names, by the way). Lau reportedly had his own plans for a direct sequel which have not yet come to fruition.

The comic book series has enjoyed a near 20-year run, so there are plenty of stories to go around. An animated feature based on the series and entitled Storm Rider Clash of the Evils is due out next year. We'll have to wait for details to see what live-action story the Pang Brothers will be telling.