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At 50, 'Monkey King' star Donnie Yen says he still has stamina to battle bad guys on screen

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HONG KONG - Donnie Yen found playing the Monkey King in the upcoming fantasy epic "The Monkey King" to be a test of endurance.

The action star spent six hours in the makeup chair daily during filming. "After the makeup is done, then comes the pressure of wearing the armour," he said. "It's very painful."

Yen and the film's director, Cheang Pou Sui, presented the latest trailer for the film at an event Friday in Hong Kong.

Yen, barely recognizable, is seen in full costume as the Monkey King fights off evil and shows off superpowers.

The story, based on Chinese mythology, is about the pilgrimage of the Monkey King, who accompanies a Buddhist monk to retrieve a sacred Buddhist text. The Monkey King battles the Bull Demon King, played by another Hong Kong A-lister, Aaron Kwok.

The 50-year-old Yen, whose films include Zhang Yimou's "Hero" and the comic Hollywood crossover "Shanghai Knights," acknowledges that his strength as a lean, mean fighting machine is not the same as before. But he said he still can fight the bad guys on the big screen.

"I think to shoot a movie takes stamina," he said. "I don't think that has anything to do with age. It's all right. At least I feel that in the past two years, my body has no aches and pains. I can still keep going."

"The Monkey King" also features Chow Yun Fat and Kelly Chan and will be released in China and Hong Kong on Jan. 30, before the Lunar New Year holiday.

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