Distant echoes of a successful franchise rang around Hong Kong this week as production got underway on a new Jackie Chan vehicle, currently titled New Police Story.

"Strictly speaking it is not a sequel and we won't call it Police Story anything as we don't have the rights," said Albert Lee, CEO of Emperor Multimedia Group (EMG), which is assisting with distribution of the Benny Chan-directed action flick.

The new film is a return to familiar territory for Jackie Chan after a string of Hollywood and English-language pictures including Shanghai Nights, The Tuxedo, The Medallion and Around The World In 80 Days.

Production is handled by JCE, a new company formed by Jackie Chan and his regular business and investment partners Willie Chan (no relation) and Solon So. Finance comes from JCE and private investors including Albert Yeung, EMG's leading shareholder. Although EMG is not an investor in the project, it expects to handle distribution on a fee basis.

The first scenes to be shot cranked up in the Soho district of Hong Kong on Monday night. They may mark further development of Jackie Chan as a character actor. After The Medallion, in which he enjoys a rare on-screen kiss, the first scenes of New Police Story to be shot saw Chan discovered in an alleyway drunk. He has rarely played characters who have lost their self-control through alcohol.

Other starring roles are played by Nicholas Tse, Daniel Wu and female star Charlie Yeung. There is also a cameo by Charlene Choi, one half of pop sensation Twins and co-star of EMG's hit vampire picture The Twins Effect.