Production has got underway in Ireland on The Highbinders, the Jackie Chan starring action-comedy that is the biggest budget film ever to emerge from Hong Kong.

The $35m picture is produced by Emperor Multimedia Group (EMG) and is directed by Gordon Chan with veteran stuntman Sammo Hung responsible for directing the acting sequences. Alongside Chan, the film stars Claire Forlani, Lee Evans, John Rhys-Davies, Christy Chung and Anthony Wong.

The film is the story of a Hong Kong cop (Chan) and a bumbling Dublin detective (Evans) who join forces with an female sleuth (Forlani) to track down an international slavery syndicate.

"We are delighted to be underway at last," said Bey Logan, EMG spokesman and co-screenwriter, with Bennett Joshua Devlin and Paul Wheeler. "This is the first time that we have had a full Hong Kong crew work so closely with an Irish team. The first scenes, which were not the easiest, involving a complicated crane shot and a microlight aircraft, went off extremely well."

After a month of location work in Ireland, production will break until the end of the year, while Chan shoots The Tuxedo. Shooting will then resume in Asia.

Executive producer credits go to EMG's Albert Yeung, Chan and Willie Chan. Producers are Alfred Cheung Kin-ting and co-producer Tim Kwok Siew-loong.