Netflix’s “Wu Assassins” return with their very own Bangkok misadventure movie in “Fistful of Vengeance,” a violent and cheesy follow-up to the TV series.
Another “save the Earth” conundrum faces Tommy (Lawrence Kao), when all the skinny “smart one” wanted was to avenge his murdered sister. So he and the last Wu Assassin, “the special one,” Kai Jin (Indonesian martial artists Iko Uwais) and towering pal Lu Xin Lee (Lewis Tan), who’s just “really good at kicking ass,” must battle mobsters from assorted Triads, a soul-sucking Chi vampire and others seeking a magical talisman to secure supreme power and take over the world.
Let’s just say “something like that,” as the plot is convoluted and an excuse to set up a string of brawls — in night clubs, a mobster-packed hotel, a riverside house — a Thai long tail powerboat chase along that river.
The ethics of the piece veer from We must fight with fists, knives and meat cleavers because “There is no honor in guns,” to the arrival of an Interpol agent (Pearl Thusi) who joins in to empty clip after clip into bad guys when fists simply won’t do.
The dialogue is of the “I don’t mind a little action” and “Assassin STRIKE!” variety.
The fights are generally fun, although there’s a rushed-production half-speed feel to much of the fight choreography.
The effects are just special enough to earn that label.
But the gloss, the exotic location, the sex amongst the sexy never really adds up to anything more than a background noise movie, junk that you sort of half-watch because paying close attention just exposes flaws and how rushed this feels. One character is called several different names, including, I’m pretty sure, the name of the actress playing her.
Leave this one to fans of the series, because as a stand-alone movie, it’s a dud.
Rating: TV-MA, nonstop violence, sex, profanity
Cast: Lawrence Kao, Lewis Tan, Iko Awais, Pearl Thusi Francesca Corney and Jason Tobin
Credits: Directed by Roel Reiné , scripted by Cameron Litvak. A Netflix release.
Running time: 1:34