Review: Wolf Warrior (2015)


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Starring Wu Jing, Scott Adkins, Nan Yu, Kevin Lee, Kyle Shapiro, Ni Dahong, Zhou Xiaoou

Fight Choreography by Wu Jing

Directed by Wu Jing

Wolf Warrior heralds the coming together of two martial arts titans: Wu Jing and Scott Adkins, both some of the best onscreen action stars today. But something went terribly wrong here, as the fight of century never actually happens, and, to put their fight best…

…dull.

Wolf Warrior stars Wu Jing as Leng Feng, an expert sniper in the Chinese army who has a tendency to do his own thing rather than take orders, and this comes to bear as he kills a known drug lord during a bust against orders. Rather than toss him in jail for subordination (they actually do) they transfer him to a special forces unit known as the Wolves. Meanwhile, the brother of said drug lord, Ming Deng, plots his revenge against Leng Feng, by hiring a group of mercenaries led by Tom Cat (Adkins) to ambush and kill Leng Feng, regardless of the fact that he’ll be surrounded by an entire military battalion. Of course Ming Deng has more to his plan that he doesn’t even reveal to Tom Cat, who strikes at Leng Feng during a Wolves training mission. What follows is a run-and-gun film as the Wolves take on the mercenaries and brings Leng Feng to a showdown with Tom Cat, but will their battle allow Ming Deng to escape China?

The story here runs at a fast clip, even with the subplot of Leng Deng’s father still coping with having to shoot his own squad mate during a battle long ago, and Leng Deng having to face the same scenario later in the film. Wu Jing is fun to watch here, playing his character not unlike Tom Cruise does in his Mission Impossible films, with a wink and a smile at the ready, which is actually refreshing from many characters he’s played in the past. The one thing that doesn’t work is his flirtations with his commanding officer Colonel Long Xiaoyun (Nan Yu). There isn’t much chemistry, and they spend much of the film separated from each other and only speak by radio. Scott Adkins is formidable as TomCat, but we never really get to know him beyond the fact that he’s a Really Bad Guy. The same goes for the entire mercenary crew.

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Wu Jing directs the film with confidence and energy, and it comes out in every scene..save one. There are some big set pieces and a lot going on, but at no point was I ever confused or disoriented in regards to where everyone is in relation to the action.

The action scenes are top notch, and play out in a classic action military film manner. There is the classic army type characters: the comedian, the lover, the Dad, the gruff but fair commanding officer. Many soldiers bite the dust, and there is suspense from sniper fire and redemptive scenes of sacrifice and honor from the Chinese soldiers. However, what we, the audience really want to see is Scott Adkins vs Wu Jing, as classic a scene as Bruce Vs. Chuck, Jackie Vs. Benny, Sammo Vs Billy, and so many more…

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What we got was as weak as fight as I’ve seen in quite a while. The fight never lasted very long, and what was there just didn’t gel. Both men looked great, but Adkins never cuts loose the way you know he can, and Wu Jing just doesn’t do much aside from a good kick here and there. The knife fight, which you hope brings memories of SPL, is short and not fill of the moves we would expect. And I can’t believe I’m saying this, but too much wirework where it wasn’t necessary.

So that brings me to a bit of a conundrum: do I judge the film as a whole or base my judgement solely on the great fight that was touted but failed to deliver?

I think in this case I have to find that middle ground, so…

Kiai-Kick’s Grade: 5

Wolf Warrior is not a bad film, but it doesn’t have the martial arts scenes you want, which to me is the price of admission, Wu Jing does have a good future as a film director, however.

The film will be released tomorrow from the good folks at Wellgousa! Let me know in the comments what you thought of the film. Do you agree with my assessment?

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