Netflix’s ‘Fistful of Vengeance’ Delivers on Its Title (Quick Bite Review)

Julien Neaves, Editor

When I saw Netflix fantasy martial arts film Fistful of Vengeance pop up on my recommendations I thought it looked like a fun movie. And I saw Indonesian actor and martial arts boss Iko Uwais (The Raid, The Raid 2, The Night Comes for Us) so I knew I was in for some good action. But only when I watched it I realised it was a sequel to Netflix’s fantasy martial arts series Wu Assassins.

Now why it’s not called “Wu Assassins: Fistful of Vengeance” is anyone’s guess. Maybe they didn’t want to discourage people who were not keen on having to watch an entire season of a show before checking out the film. Or maybe they thought the name was too long. Who knows? And while it follows on from the series the film starts with a recap of events the plot to get viewers up to date. And it actually has few connections with the events of Season 1, so you can still enjoy it even if you haven’t seen the show (which is okay, but not a must-see by any means). With a SPOILER ALERT for the series let’s review this bad boy quick.

That guy deserves to get his backside kicked after wearing that outfit

What’s the plot? Come on, you’re not here for the plot. Okay, fine. Kai (Uwais), the supernaturally empowered “Wu Assassin”, his smooth criminal friend Lu Xin (Lewis Tan), and ex-Triad member and former heroin addict Tommy (Lawrence Kao) travel to Bangkok to hunt down the killer of Tommy’s sister Jenny, having found on her body an ancient talisman that leads them to Thailand. The trio then team up with Lu Xin’s ex-flame, Interpol agent and leather sports bra-wearing Zama (Pearl Thusi) and Tommy’s free-spirited friend Preeya (Francesca Corney) to battle the forces of Ku An Qi (Rhatha Phongam), an underworld boss and jiangshi, a Chinese folklore creature that kills living creatures by absorbing their life force.

The characters are extremely thin, the dialogue is not exactly inspired, and the plot is super predictable and cliché-ridden. But there is a whole lot of frenetic, martial arts action that is truly entertaining and a surprising amount of gore that is way more than anything seen in the series. There are many punches, kicks, knives and improvised weapons and an endless supply of henchmen to get beat down or beat dead. And we also get some gunplay courtesy of Zama, which is nice for variety. It has the feel of an 80s kung fu movie though with a modern gloss and higher budget.

#squadgoals

There are a few interesting supernatural beings though their exploration is very surface and we don’t get very deep into the folklore, which is a tad unfortunate. The focus is always on getting to the next action set piece and thankfully there are many cool set pieces.

So if you like your martial arts films light of plot and heavy on punches and kicks then you should enjoy Fistful of Vengeance.

Editor Jules’s Score: 6.5 out of 10

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Julien “Editor Jules” Neaves is a TARDIS-flying, Force-using Trekkie whose bedroom stories were by Freddy Krueger, learned to be a superhero from Marvel, but dreams of being Batman. I love promoting Caribbean film (Cariwood), creating board games and I am an aspiring author. I say things like “12 flavours of awesome sauce”. Read more.