The year: 1992. The place: the offices of Golden Harvest. Two studio hacks discuss their next film…

STUDIO HACK #1: “These Jackie Chan vehicles are doing great, but I worry a little that the audience may eventually realize that they’re just watching the same movie over and over again. Do you think there’s anything we can do to freshen the formula up a bit?”

STUIDO HACK #2: “Perhaps we could set him up with a partner? A… female partner!”

SH#1: “Say, that’s not a bad idea! Who’s available?”

SH#2: “Hmm, let’s see… I think we can get Michelle Yeoh.”

SH#1: “That’ll be perfect! Get her on the phone!”

A few weeks later…

SH#1: “This is terrible! We have two of the most talented martial arts actors in the world doing a movie together, and there’s absolutely zero chemistry between them!”

SH#2: “What’s the problem?”

SH#1: “I think it might have something to do with the fact that she’s beautiful and gracious and soulful and generally perfect, and he’s a frickin’ spastic clown.”

SH#2: “The executives will have our heads if we don’t deliver a hit. Whatever shall we do?”

SH#1: “This calls for drastic measures. Implement On-Screen Chemistry Enhancement Protocol MC-1.”

SH#2: “You don’t mean…?”

SH#1: “Yes. In an emergency like this, we have to generate sparks any way we can. It may be overkill, but we’re going to have to call in the heavy artillery.”

SH#2: “But with Yeoh already on the set? We run the risk of overloading the film with pure gorgeousness! The projectors will melt down!”

SH#1: “It’s a risk we’ll have to take. Bring in… Maggie Cheung.”

The film is finished, and is a big hit. A year later, the executives call for a sequel…

SH#1: “God, I don’t know if we can pull this off again.”

SH#2: “I know. Who would’ve thunk that even Maggie Cheung would fail to generate any heat with Jackie? The guy’s coated with teflon or something. Wacky teflon, of course”

SH#1: “Thank goodness the director gave Yeoh free rein to kick ass and take names. Totally saved the movie.”

SH#2: “Well, this next one’s going to need some saving as well. Here’s the thing: Jackie’s too busy to do it. He’s got two or three other movies in the pipeline, and there’s that pop album he’s recording…”

SH#1: “Ugh, now there’s something I’m not looking forward to. So how the hell are we supposed to make a movie without the star?”

SH#2: “Well… how about we just have Yeoh star?”

SH#1: “Say, that’s not a bad idea! She carried the first movie, there’s no reason she can’t handle the sequel. Maybe we can squeeze a cameo out of Jackie, just to keep the fans happy.”

SH#2: “Genius!”

SH#1: “Genius!”

SH#2: “Oh, wait — won’t we need a new script or a plot or something?”

SH#1: “Eh, we’ll just fire up the Action Movie Script-O-Tron 7000. Ask it for a Die Hard attached to an inverse Beverly Hills Cop, with a minimal gender-bend to make everything fit.”

SH#2: “Sounds good to me. Is it lunchtime yet? I need a martini.”