Mo is no Hannibal Lecter, but this will still be a case where a killer is
recruited to catch a killer. In his thirst to become the number one martial
artist, Hahou Mo won a fateful match, but lost his honor and his liberty.
Although he dearly regrets losing control, another martial artist is
deliberately following his fatal example. The mystery man is seeking out all
the masters Hahou Mo beat, but his challenges necessarily end in death. Teddy
Chan marries together the martial arts and serial killer genres in Kung Fu Killer (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in New York.
though he was once a police instructor, nobody in Stanley Prison messes with
Hahou Mo, for obvious reasons. However, when he hears of the first victim and
the circumstances surrounding his murder, Hahou Mo has to do something dramatic
to attract the attention of Detective Inspector Luk Yuen-sum, unfortunately for
seventeen of his fellow inmates. At first, she wants nothing to do with him,
but he is soon remanded into her custody when one of the names he gives her turns
out to be the next victim.
newly freed Hahou Mo quickly deduces the pathological Fung Yu-sau is working
his way through the masters of each respective discipline: boxing, kicking,
grappling, qi, weapons, and inner energy. As the former head of the Mergence
school of Kung Fu, his name is all over the latter. To raise the stakes even
further, his former school is now overseen by Sinn Ying, the love of his life.
don’t need to read a book on screenwriting to guess Hahou Mo and Fung Yu-sau
will go toe-to-toe in the third act. Even though the highway setting is
somewhat reminiscent of scenes in Iceman,
the climatic duel lives up to expectations and then some. Donnie Yen’s fight
choreography is bruising yet quite cinematic. Fans only complaint might be some
of the earlier duels end too soon, but at least Louis Fan gets his money’s
worth as Weapons Champ Hung Yip.
Hahou Mo, Yen once again demonstrates why he is one of the biggest stars in the
world. His skills are as sharp as ever and he remains a likable, charismatic
screen presence. He has okay chemistry with Michelle Bai’s Sinn Yang, who also
displays some strong martial arts chops. Indeed, she acquits herself quite well
in her action feature spot, but again, it is too bad this did not become an
extended centerpiece scene, like Jing Tian’s spectacular face-off with Andy On
in Special ID. Typically known for
comedic roles and psychopaths, Wang Baoqiang finds unexpected pathos in Fung
Yu-sau, playing him as both a sinister and tragic figure, almost like a Phantom
of the Opera.
Due to Chinese censorship, Chan’s film was known
as Kung Fu Jungle in Mainland
theaters, which seems pretty ridiculous, but at least some apparatchik was able
to exercise his power. Needless to say, Kung
Fu Killer is more accurately descriptive. Yen delivers the goods and scores
of figures associated with old school HK action films get to feel the love in smaller
supporting roles. Darker than many of Yen’s films, but still all kinds of fun, Kung Fu Killer is highly recommended for
martial arts fans when it opens this Friday (4/24) in New York, at the AMC
Labels: Donnie Yen, Martial arts cinema, Serial killer movies