Wolf Warrior II (2017)

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Wu Jing is back and he’s on an even more dangerous mission in what is the highest-grossing film in China’s box office history.

Leng Feng has been exiled from the Wolf Warrior squadron after he attempted to protect the family of a lost comrade and served jail time. To make matters worse, he has learned his girlfriend, Long Xiaoyun, was attacked during a border mission and on top of that, a bullet was found. Learning that the bullet may have been found in Africa, Leng heads there but goes on to make friends with many of the locals, bonding with young boy Tundu, to the point where Leng is made Tundu’s godfather.

However, the country is on the brink of war as a rebel faction has been taking over small towns, killing everyone in sight. When Leng and Tundu find themselves in the latest war zone, along with a fellow Chinese storeowner, Leng leads any survivors successfully to the Chinese embassy. When Leng learns that Dr. Chen, a respected biologist, could be targeted by the faction, Leng offers to get the doctor and rescue him and anyone else, along with Tundu’s mother, who is at a factory run by Lin Zhixiong. When the rebel faction has hired a band of international mercenaries led by Big Daddy, the factory becomes a war zone and Leng must do whatever it takes, all while fighting a potentially fatal virus he accidentally contracted en route to the factory.

Wu Jing’s 2015 action film Wolf Warrior pitted Chinese soldiers against a band of international mercenaries. Wu not only starred, but co-wrote and directed the film, which became a hit. Knowing he needed to up the ante with this sequel, he got assistance from the most unlikely source in Joe and Anthony Russo, the guys behind two superior Marvel movies, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War and who will unleash Avengers: Infinity War. And how exactly did they help Wu out with the making of the film?

The Russos brought Sam Hargrave, a well-respected stuntman and stunt coordinator, to serve as director of the film’s action sequences alongside Hong Kong’s Jack Wong. The action of the film is a major step up from its predecessor, opening with an amazing one-take underwater fight sequence that is just amazing to watch. There are loads of shootouts and close quarter fight scenes that make this film look like a Russo-helmed Marvel film but replace the superheroes with Wu Jing and his allies in the form of Wu Gang’s ex-soldier and Hans Zhang’s wannabe soldier.

The international mercenaries this time are led by the wonderfully named “Big Daddy”, played by Frank Grillo, who played Brock “Crossbones” Rumlow in both CA: TWS and CA: CW. To add some of that Marvel-style action flavor, some of Grillo’s team are played by stunt performers Aaron Toney and Heidi Moneymaker alongside Oleg Prudius, who had a stint in World Wrestling Entertainment as “Vladimir Kozlov” and has proven himself as an actor and stunt performer lately.

As for Wu himself, this time around being in a foreign land compared to his native China, Wu’s command of English is quite impressive and works well when working with both Celina Jade as Dr. Chen’s assistant Dr. Rachel Smith and especially with child actor Nwachukwu Kennedy Chukwuebaka as Tundu, the young boy who Leng sees as his godson while Jade gets a chance to work well as child actor Diana Sylla as Pasha, whose role is truly that of a pivotal one. Wu Gang and Hans Zhang provide ample support as two fellow Chinese, the former an ex-military officer and the latter a wannabe soldier who finally lives his dream and rolls with it, who become the honorary “Wolf Warriors” in this mission.

If you liked the original Wolf Warrior, then you will truly love Wolf Warrior II as the action is taken up not one notch, but quite a few notches with Wu Jing once again showcasing his talents both in front and behind the cameras with a great supporting cast led by Frank Grillo as the villain and Celina Jade as a reliable and pivotal ally.

WFG RATING: A

A Beijing Dongfang International Culture Comminications Company, Beijing Century Media Culture, Chao Feng Pictures, Orange Image, and Spring Era Film Co. Production in association with China Film. Co., Deer Pictures, I Verge Information Technology Company, Bona International Film Group, Beijing Jingxi Culture & Tourism Co., Jiahui Culture and Media Company, Star Era Movie & TV Culture Media Company, and Wanda Media Co. Director: Wu Jing. Producers: Lv Jiamin, Miao Zhang, Guan Hailong, and Ji Diaoqing. Writers: Wu Jing, Dong Qun, Liu Yi, and Gao Yan. Cinematography: Peter Ngor. Editing: Cheung Ka-Fai.

Cast: Wu Jing, Frank Grillo, Celina Jade, Wu Gang, Hans Zhang, Yu Qian, Yu Nan, Chunyu Shanshan, Oleg Prudius, Heidi Moneymaker, Aaron Toney, Nwachukwu Kennedy Chukwuebaka, Diana Sylla, Ann James, Shi Zhaoqi, Wang Sen, Zhuang Xiaolong.

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