The Good: Kung Fu Killer (aka Kung Fu Jungle) has a solid premise, and the action choreography doesn’t disappoint. Donnie Yen and Wang Baoqiang engage in plenty of exciting action, and a lot of the set pieces are pretty creative.
Lots of cameos from classic Hong Kong action directors and actors, which will be amusing for those familiar with Asian cinema.
The production values are solid, and the climactic fight is pretty exciting. It’s good to see that Hong Kong action movies still carry on a tradition of strong fight/stunt choreography.
The Bad: Although the plot line is well thought-out, the movie does suffer a bit from mediocre execution. The acting is pretty stilted, and there isn’t much effort made to help us emotionally connect with the characters. Donnie Yen may be an amazing martial artist, but throughout the whole movie his facial expressions only convey the following three thoughts:
- I’m going to kick someone’s ass
- I’m really going to kick someone’s ass
- I’m really, really going to kick someone’s ass
Who would like this movie: Kung Fu Killer is clearly for fans Donnie Yen and of the martial arts genre in general. The cameos should be pretty fun for those knowledgable with Hong Kong cinema, but will be lost on most others.
It’s certainly exciting, but the lack of emotional range among the characters is a clear hindrance. Also, occasionally clumsy pacing keep this action movie from being as fun as it could have been. If you’re familiar with the story structure of martial arts movies, much of this one will be predictable. Overall, it’s entertaining if you’re looking for a little escape.
2 and 1/2 stars out of 4
Review written by: Joe Yang