Revenge and redemption takes over for a MMA fighter in this Chinese martial arts drama.
Fang Yihuo is a mixed martial arts champion who has thrived on his career in the ring. However, when he refuses to throw a fight, he faces the wrath of local mob boss King. When King sets Yihuo up and has him sent to prison, Yihuo’s brother Yishui sets a plan to seek revenge. It all starts with infiltrating King’s organization through King’s girlfriend, who takes a liking to Yishui. When Yishui proves himself to be a force to be reckoned with, King is impressed with Yishui’s skills in his underground fight club.
As Yishui continues to thrive with his intentions met, King has a secret weapon in Qian Kun, whom he plans to make his true champion after betraying Yihuo. When King sets up a fight between Qian Kun and Yishui, it starts with Yishui getting the upper hand. That is, until Qian Kun forces Yishui in a submission that leaves him in a vegetative state. King thinks he has it made. However, what he doesn’t realize is that Yihuo has served his sentence. He’s out and when he finds out what’s happened, he is ready for revenge.
The film is reminiscent of the 2001 Hong Kong film Born Wild, where a man attempts to avenge his brother against a mob boss and his underground fight ring. However, this film has the same premise, only the film opens with the titular character, Fang Yihuo, in prison. On top of that, the film has Xie Mengwei playing both brothers with different looks a la Jean-Claude Van Damme in Double Impact, only replace slick back hair with Yihuo sporting blond hair and his brother Yishui sporting his natural dark hair.
As Yihuo, Xie exhumes this sort of arrogance due to his being a champion. However, it is while he is imprisoned that he begins to realize why he was set up and finds himself to not be as arrogant as he finds himself in a very dangerous place. Meanwhile, as Yishui, we see him introduced as a young brash fighter who intends to infiltrate the mob boss King by first coercing King’s moll, played by Gao Yiyi, then ultimately proving himself. Of course, a twist is thrown in when King plans to make another fighter his champion and when Yishui is nearly killed, that’s when Yihuo returns from prison.
Xie Mengwei not only stars in the film, but also serves as the film’s martial arts director. He makes not only himself, but the other cast of fighters look good. The fights consist of MMA fighting with some tricking and taekwondo mixed in. Not only are the fights well done here, but even the story has its own twists and turns. This comes notably when it comes to the character of King’s moll, who takes a liking for Yishui and offers Yihuo a chance to help her get revenge. However, there’s more to her character that she tends to lead perhaps as a way to break from King because it seems he cares more about his power and money than love.
The Fire Wolf is a pretty decent Chinese martial arts drama that has a reminiscence of Born Wild, with Xie Mengwei driving the film as both star and action director.
WFG RATING: B-
MYMT and Panda Interactive presents a Beijing Mei You Mei Tian Cultural Development Co. Ltd. production. Directors: Wu Tun and Wang Xingeng. Producer: Wang Xingeng. Writer: Fei Bo. Cinematography: Zhang Dageng.
Cast: Xie Mengwei, Gao Yiyi, Wang Yonggiang, Jia Xiaolong, Xiang Yu, Wang Hongxiang, Zhuang Xiaolong.