ready for a steady diet of metaphors telling us lone wolves are most successful
traveling in packs, or some such thing. They would be referring to Leng Feng.
He is a loose cannon maverick type, but whenever he goes off the reservation,
he is doing it for the team. Of course, he makes plenty of enemies that way,
including a vengeful drug lord who can afford the best mercenaries money can
buy. Their values compare poorly with those of the idealistic Feng, but they still
manage to get the drop on his elite commando unit in Wu Jing’s Wolf Warrior (trailer here), which releases
today on DVD, BluRay, and digital platforms from Well Go USA.
when a Southeast Asian drug raid seems hopelessly lost, Feng takes a spectacular
shot (three of them really) to save the day. In the process, he kills the
impetuous brother of shadowy crime boss and aspiring global megalomaniac, Min
Peng. He should be happy to be rid of such a pathetic tool, but Min Peng rather
holds a grunge. Having eluded Chinese forces, the old criminal mastermind hires
a team of western mercs, led by the highly skilled Tom Cat, to take out Leng.
He also has some conventional world domination business for them to tend, but
that is really just a tangent to a tangent.
the plan to attack while Leng’s squad is engaged in war-games is sort of
clever, since it necessarily means the Wolves will be strictly packing blanks. Unfortunately,
that is about the only part of the film that works. Even though the Mainland
born Wu rose to prominence in HK film like City Under Siege, Wolf Warrior was
clearly conceived as feature length tribute to the PLA. To a man, the Wolves
are invariably pure of heart, but also stiflingly dull. Its like the un-self-aware
Chinese version of “America, Blank Yeah,” the anthem of Team America World Police, except irony is strictly forbidden.
a director, Wu gives us a herky-jerky ride, but his martial arts skills remain
undiminished. The film is kind of watchable when it shuts up and lets everyone get
down to business. When he finally gets to his long anticipated face-off with
Scott Adkins’ Tom Cat (a mercenary named after a celebrity couple), it is pretty
satisfying. Yet, it is rather strange how much of the film’s action revolves
around fire-fights and marksmanship, considering two of the world’s top big
screen martial artists are present and accounted for.
least they have stuff to do. For most of the film, Adkins’ Expendables 2 co-star Yu Nan is stuck wearing an earpiece and
biting her lip as she gives tactical advice from the command center. On the
other hand, Ni Dahong’s stone cold coolness as the villainous Min Peng is one
of the film’s saving graces, even though his transformation from Pablo Escobar
to Dr. Evil makes no sense. It also seems slightly odd that he would want to
develop a super-virus that only kills Chinese people.
There are rumors floating about online that PLA
personnel were required to see Wolf Warriors
in theaters, which would explain its success. If so, Wu delivered
everything his PLA patrons could have hoped for, often reducing the film to an
old school Soviet May Day parade of shiny new military hardware and platitudinous
dialogue. Disappointing for anyone who is not a member of the Young Pioneers, Wolf Warriors is strictly for Wu and Adkins
completists when it releases today (9/1), from Well Go USA.
Labels: Chinese Cinema, DVD, Scott Adkins, Wu Jing, Yu Nan