"The Grandmasters," a film starring Zhang Ziyi and Tony Leung, debuted Tuesday across China.
The action film from director Wong Kar-wai follows the inspiring story of how noted Chinese kung fu master Yip Man settled disputes in martial arts circles and created his own kung fu school.
Wong spent about 10 years shooting the film, making it the most time-consuming production in Chinese film history.
"The role I played in the film is a mixture of Bruce Lee and his 'Shifu' Yip Man," said Leung, a popular actor from Hong Kong, adding that he gained a new perspective on Chinese martial arts during shooting.
Zhang said at a press conference that she may not appear in another action film after "The Grandmasters."
"One reason is that it is too exhausting to shoot an action film, and the other is that the action performance of 'Gong Er' (the role she played in the movie) has peaked. I don't think there will be another role for me that will surpass this one," the Beijing-born movie star said.
Both Zhang and Tony complained that shooting the action-packed movie agitated old injuries.
Zhang described her character Gong Er as more determined and lonely than other characters she has played in the past, including Jen in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and Ru Yue in "Hero."
The film will hit theaters worldwide, but a detailed schedule is not yet available.
Wong, 54, is best known for his films "Chungking Express" (1994) and "In the Mood for Love" (2000). He will head the jury of the Berlin International Film Festival in February.