The term “rumble in the jungle” gives new meaning as Donnie Yen takes center stage in this action packed thriller that features a scene-stealing performance by Wang Baoqiang.
Hahou Mo, a former martial arts teacher and police self-defense instructor, has accidentally killed someone and is serving a five-year prison sentence. When a former boxing champion Hahou knew is found dead, it is revealed that the killer had defeated the victim with using his bare hands. Hahou knew the victim as he had fought him years ago. When Inspector Luk Yuen-Sum is in charge of the case, Hahou offers to help in exchange for his freedom because he knows the motive of the killer.
The killer is revealed to be Fung Yusau, a crippled martial arts master who hunts down famous champions and viciously uses their own skills against them. Fung wants to become the number one martial artist and in order to achieve the title, he must go through masters of various styles and eventually face off against the one man who has defeated them all in the past: Hahou Mo.
This is truly a thrill-a-minute action thriller with Donnie Yen starring as a martial arts master who is given a chance to redeem himself when he tracks down a serial killer of martial arts champions. The plot may sound similar to the 1997 Hong Kong-U.S. crossover Bloodmoon, but this is Bloodmoon kicked up a few notches. The police drama as well as Huaho’s relationship with longtime girlfriend Sinn Ying, played by Michelle Bai Bing, gives a somewhat smoothness to the film. Charlie Yeung, who made a comeback a decade ago with New Police Story, transitions well from just another pretty face to showing a really good performance as Inspector Luk.
However, the breakout of the film is that of the villain himself. As Fung Yu-Sau, Wang Baoqiang is a true scene-stealer and he steals every scene he is in. He truly plays a psychopath who virtually uses all forms of martial arts to dispatch of his opponents. As we learn more about the character of Fung, it is hard at first to understand why he becomes obsessed with learning the martial arts. However, it is clear, he cares more about his using his skills than anything else and for Fung, being number one is all that is embedded in Fung’s mind and he will not let anyone get in his way.
Donnie Yen served as the film’s main action director with Yuen Bun and Yen Stunt Team member Yan Hua as choreographers. The stunt coordination was done by Stephen Tung Wai. This may sound like a possible clashing of egotrips. However, that is truly not the case as Yen, Yuen, Yan, and Tung meshed well in making the action look great. Yen outdoes himself, as he takes on a whopping seventeen prisoners, including veteran Mang Hoi in his opening fight scene.
As for Wang, he gets to take on the likes of Shi Yanneng, Yu Kang, and Louis Fan, all of whom make special appearances. There are cameo appearances galore in the film. Look out for Bruce Law as a truck driver who appears in the finale, Golden Harvest founder Raymond Chow as a customer at a stall run by former Shaw Brothers star David Chiang; action directors Tony Leung Siu-Hung and Lee Tat-Chiu as prison guards; Tsui Siu-Ming and Yuen Cheung-Yan are just more names that appear in the film along with Bey Logan as the K-1 kickboxer Hahou accidentally murders in the film’s opener.
Kung Fu Killer is truly a fun film to enjoy. Donnie Yen goes on the road to redemption while Wang Baoqiang steals the show as the film’s psychopathic villain. Definitely recommended for martial arts action fans.
WFG RATING: A
An Emperor Motion Pictures Production. Director: Teddy Chan. Producers: Catherine Hun, Tong Choi-Chi, Song Ning, Writers: Lau Ho-Leung and Mak Tin-Shu. Cinematography: Horace Wong, Davy Tsou, Cheung Man-Po, Tony Miu, Chang Jun-Chung, Cheng Siu-Keung, Kenny Tse, Choi Shung-Fai, Chan Yiu-Leung, and Samuel Fu. Editing: Cheung Ka-Fai and Derek Hui.
Cast: Donnie Yen, Wang Baoqiang, Charlie Yeung, Michelle Bai, Alex Fong, Shi Yanneng, Yu Kang, Louis Fan, David Chiang.