I think that solely pre-teen and/or pre-existing viewers will get pleasure from “Fistful of Vengeance,” a feature-length spin-off of the hacky American Netflix martial arts sequence “Wu Assassins.” That’s not strictly a knock, since I, too, bear in mind the siren name of dreck episodic TV that, regardless of its formulaic nature, can typically be satisfying anyway due to some sturdy high-concept narrative hooks and test-tube-manufactured good vibes. (I repeatedly tuned in for “Viper” and can gladly discuss your ear off about “Manimal”). Sadly, I’m not a “Wu Assassins” diehard, and the standard of filmmaking on this spinoff isn’t robust sufficient to warrant even a blended suggestion. “Fistful of Vengeance” is a film in length solely; it’s fairly slapdash when it comes to its execution, even throughout its glossy-looking motion set items.
“Fistful of Vengeance” instantly overwhelms viewers with an ostensibly tongue-in-cheek voiceover recap of the place the primary season of “Wu Assassins” left off: Tommy (Lawrence Kao) tells an attractive “jiangshi” vitality vampire that he and two buddies, the super-powered murderer Kai Jin (“The Raid” star Iko Uwais) and their ride-or-die buddy Lu Xin (Lewis Tan), have traveled to Thailand to avenge Tommy’s useless sister Jenny, whom all of them cherished. Why Thailand? As a result, they traced historical materials from an outdated piece of stone to a Bangkok evening membership. And after killing some jiangshis, they rapidly fall in league with shady tipster William Pan (Jason Tobin), an entrepreneur who can briefly cease time, command a non-public military’s value of mercenaries, and in addition shoot glowing balls of vitality out of his palms.
Pan has data on big-time crime boss Ku An Qi (Yayaying Rhatha Phongam), however, he additionally has his personal agenda. That’s not a spoiler, however reasonably an apparent little bit of subtext provided that Pan solely introduces himself after he reveals introduces himself utilizing a video about his company outfit that features the road: “We’re not simply trying to the longer term, we’re trying to form it.” There’s a little bit extra emotional baggage weighing down this featherweight plot, however, it ain’t a lot: Tommy hooks up with sassy native information Preeya (Francesca Corney) whereas Lu Xin spars after which sleeps with Interpol Agent Zama (Pearl Thusi).
Every little thing on this state of affairs chugs together with perfunctory A-to-B effectivity and a common lack of creativeness. There’s some above-the-waist nudity in a single scene, a little bit of gore all through, and some determined “f” bombs scattered right here and yon. A bunch of scenes is filmed with unremarkable coloration lens filters (this scene is amber; this one’s blue-ish, and so on.) And there’s no chemistry between the primary leads, which is very unlucky since Lu Xin tells Zama that “I can style while you’re mendacity” proper earlier than they kiss whereas Preeya smooches an unsuspecting Tommy as quickly as they meet up simply to “get that over with.” These chummy jokes appear to write down themselves, however, most don’t actually land: after driving an automobile by way of a glass door, Lu Xin quips “door says push, not pull.” No person laughs. “What?” he provides for steadiness.
The choreography has no momentum or circulation both because the over-edited motion is extra lined than directed. Every time Uwais fights Phongam or whoever else, now we have to see them from overhead, or possibly we must always lower to a visually coherent chase that’s occurring at one other finish of the constructing, or possibly the digital camera can transfer over right here, which might coincidentally higher spotlight the VIE Resort’s luxurious options or different on-location Thai units. The filmmaking isn’t ever greater than workmanlike, in different phrases, however, followers of direct-to-video motion most likely gained’t anticipate higher from director/cinematographer Roel Reiné, whose credit embody the watchable “Arduous Goal 2” and the unlucky “The Man with the Iron Fists 2.” This film’s built-in audience may nonetheless get pleasure from Reiné’s newest since baddies get shot within the head, physique components squelch loudly, and metallic goes schwing.
It’s arduous to know methods to criticize a film like “Fistful of Vengeance” since it is vitally a lot what it’s. There’ll most likely be no second season of “Wu Assassins” and followers of that present might want closure. I don’t know that “Fistful of Vengeance” will give them a lot in that regard because it circles across similar factors like a put-upon center schooler who simply barely meets bell-curve expectations. And when it’s throughout, you’ll have gotten precisely what you paid for: a picturesque barbeque and a skin-revealing seashore frolic following some satisfactory beat-’em-up stuff. Possibly that’s your factor, who can say?
Now enjoying on Netflix.