Wu Lin: The Society (USA, 2021)

Two detectives get more than what they bargained for in this indie martial arts sci-fi flick from the director of Wu Xia: A Martial Arts Tango and Wu Xia 2: The Code.

It is the year 2050. A pandemic has hit extremely hard and as a result, everyone is forced to always wear masks. When Andrew Weber, a businessman, is found dead after a welfare check, Detectives Mendoza and Jones are on the case. They discover that Weber has been beaten up, but his brain seems to be somehow fried as if he was on drugs. They don’t understand what has happened but are determined to find out what’s happened.

As two more victims fall prey, they soon discover that local man Jim Lextor could be the next target. When Mendoza questions Jim, he learns that a mysterious ninja with powers may in fact be the one responsible for the string of deaths. With the help of Jim’s wife Katie, they soon discover not only who the mysterious killer is, but the fact he may be connected with a dangerous cult. It is up to Mendoza, Jones, and Katie to put an end to the killings one way or another.

Meshing the recent COVID-19 pandemic with sci-fi and martial arts, Johnny K. Wu’s latest is a wild ride that holds well and is actually a step up from his previous films, the short film Wu Xia: A Martial Arts Tango and its feature length sequel, Wu Xia 2: The Code (aka Immortal Combat: The Code).

There are some good performances on part of the two detectives, Mendoza and Jones, played by Jerry Sur and Thomas H.F. Gassaway. They provide the buddy action-comedy aspect of the film. Mendoza is a tough as nails detective who is determined to solve the case while Jones, his rookie partner, provides some of the comic relief to show how green he is. This is evident with the coroner scene after the first victim is found.

Kudos has to go to Kyle Houstyn, who plays the mysterious ninja in question. He has impeccable kicking skills and with the sci-fi aspect, he can disappear and reappear like Scott Adkins’ Weapon XI in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Of course, what is very interesting is the addition of Yvonne Yorke’s Katie, who many have a connection as to why these killings are going on, fearing her beloved is next. The victims in question, do attempt to put up a fight with the ninja killer with the best being that of Matt Kane’s Doug against Houstyn. The final moments, where everything is revealed, features a nice Lethal Weapon 4-style finale in which Mendoza and Jones takes on the ninja is quite fun to watch for an indie production.

Wu Lin: The Society is a pretty good mashup of martial arts action, sci-fi, cults, and the pandemic. It is clear that the idea of masks is the most prolific and good use of filming during a time where most films were shut down. An indie gem worth checking out.

WFG RATING: B+

An MDI Film production. Director: Johnny K. Wu. Producers: Keith Collins II and Scollard Reinhardt. Writer: András Zöld. Cinematography: Shawn Adams. Editing: Johnny K. Wu.

Cast: Jerry Sur, Thomas H.F. Gassaway, Yvonne Yorke, Pauline Nowakowski, Kyle Houstyn, Kyle Znamenak, Ern Gerardo, Matt Kane, Seth Bellinger.

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