Synopsis: A warrior chosen as the latest and last Wu Assassin must search for the powers of an ancient triad and restore balance in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
Review: This latest series from Netflix seems to succeed in many of the areas where ‘Iron Fist’ failed. It’s a real treat for fans of martial arts mixed with a little eastern mythology.
Wu Assassins focuses on humble cook Kai Jin who manages to tick off the triad when he stands up for a fellow cook at the restaurant where he is working. Over the course of the opening episode, he is approached by Ying Ying who is revealed to be the first Wu Assassin. She gives Kai an artifact, which absorbs into him to make him the final Wu Assassin. Ying Ying tells Kai that he has to kill five triad leaders and take their elemental powers from them in order to restore balance to San Francisco’s China Town. In order to be able to do this Kai is protected when using his powers by wearing the face of one of a 1000 Shaolin Monks that proceeded him. The problem is. One of these leaders is Uncle Six who saved Kai and his friends from some pretty dire circumstances.
The acting in this show is pretty good and highlights a lot of up and coming talent. Iko Uwais who plays Kai Jinn does really well and provides a likable and somewhat humble hero that would rather see the good in people. Kai has a lot of fun scenes with Katheryn Winnick (Vikings) who plays undercover police officer Christine Gavin.
Celia Au plays Ying Ying who is the spirit that teaches Kai how to use his Wu powers and pops up in seven episodes.
We also see Tommy Flanagan (Sons of Anarchy) take on the role of crime boss Alec McCullough who also possesses Wu Powers, and has a really interesting origin in the series.
Wu Assassins is very much what ‘Iron Fist’ could have been in that it does a nice job of balancing out the various relationship and character beats with the action elements. The martial arts featured in the show really do flow well and are beautiful to watch. There’s a sequence in the first episode where Kai fights his way through an apartment building against some triad in order to save the life of his neighbor.
The training sequences with Ying Ying provide a mix of drama and light comedy as Ying Ying’s rather black and white way of seeing things comes into conflict with Kai’s world view. Kai would rather try and take the five triad leaders down without killing them. A policy that Ying Ying does not agree with. Indeed the mythology and backstory of the Wu Assassins is what really kept my interest throughout the series.
As far as character beats go. We have Kai’s friends Jenny and Tommy Wah who all have been practically raised by Uncle Six or owe him some semblance of respect. And Uncle Six does prove to be a surprising character within the series.
There’s a really good fight sequence in episode 2 or 3 where Kai takes on Uncle Six and we get treated to an awesome martial arts display mixed in with some Wu magic as Six fires flames at Kai.
Overall. I really enjoyed this show. The characters were likable and the various character arcs were well written and acted. Hopefully, this show gets picked up for another season.
- Fight Choreography10
- Incidental Music9.6