The patron saint of squibs has lined up his first post-Red Cliff project, and it’s gonna be shot in… China. Thank god.

Though I’ve love in my heart for Face/Off and some of Windtalkers, I’d be more than happy to live in a world where John Woo never left Hong Kong. Everything about Woo’s craft became considerably less ebullient once he arrived in Hollywood; once he figured out that the studios were eager to settle for watered-down run-throughs of his bullet-whizzing epics, he just sat back and gave ‘em impeccably shot mediocrity (seriously, as bad as Paycheck is as a conventional narrative, it’s still more proficiently made than most Hollywood actioners).

But now Woo’s returned to China, and, if the international teaser for Red Cliff released last February is any indication, it looks like the home cookin’ agrees with him. So why not stay and resume a once brilliant career? That seems to be the plan, as Woo and producing partner Terence Chang have announced that 1949, a post-World War II romance, will begin shooting in China and Taiwan as soon as Red Cliff is locked (which should be soon, since it’s scheduled to open in the mainland on July 10). Hopefully, it’s a romance in the way that The Killer was a romance.

1949 will hit theaters in December 2009 to help commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the People’s Republic. Here’s hoping there’s plenty of smuggled-in dissent.