Production has started on Returner, a CGI extravaganza that promises to be one of the biggest Japanese releases of 2002.

Directed by Takashi Yamazaki and starring Takeshi Kaneshiro, Returner is a sci-fi thriller about a killer for hire who boasts a matchless martial arts technique but has a soft spot for a young girl -- a visitor from the future.

Featuring state-of-the-art wire work and 300 CGI cuts, the film aims, says a publicist, "to be a combination of Mission: Impossible, The Matrix and Leon." Fuji Television Network, Toho, Amuse Pictures, Robot, Shirogumi and Imagica are backing, while Toho is distributing domestically and Pony Canyon is handling world sales. Returner will wrap in April and open in Japan in July.