Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Wu Assassins - Drunken Watermelon

The opening episode of Netflix's Wu Assassins offers an interesting premise, with some impressive fight sequences, even if the storytelling is bit less focused than one would hope. At the core of the story is a Chinese-Indonesian chef (Iko Uwais) whose sense of honor and justice gets him in hot water with the Chinese Triad. Luckily for Kai Jin, he's granted the power to become a Wu Assassin (although he is hesitant to live up to the later-half of that title) and tasked with taking out the heads of five criminal families to the recover supernatural powers before they destroy the world.

Kai discovering his powers works well, as does the unexpected use of the powers (which are never really adequately explained) to hide his identity from those who see him in action by making him appear as someone else. When the show shifts its focus away from Kai, or his friends, family, or their relationships apart from Kai, or even those not immediately connected to the main story at all (although they will probably be woven in at some point) it gets bogged down under the sheer weight of characters and exposition. A more streamlined pilot episode, focused on Kai and his gifts, would certainly have helped sell the series beyond just the stunt and fight sequences.

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