'Wu Assassins' Season 1 review: Come for the stunning supernatural action, stay for layered relationships

The Netflix series tells the story of a young chef who is forced to be the hero he never imagined he would be


                            'Wu Assassins' Season 1 review: Come for the stunning supernatural action, stay for layered relationships

If you’re a fan of martial arts, I hope you have already called in sick today.

‘Wu Assassins’ has just been added to Netflix library and you don’t want to miss it.

The series tells the story of a young chef who is forced to be the hero he never imagined he would be. He finds himself face-to-face with monsters—in his case, his family—that he needs to beat.

Kai (Iko Uwais) is a man of many contradictions.

His adoptive father is also a mafia man who wants to protect him from a life of crime.

However, he is also the man Kai needs to kill in order to protect his own—at least, that is what his spiritual guide Ying Ying (Celia Au) tells him.

Uncle Six (Byron Mann), as he is reverentially called in Chinatown neighborhood, is a leader of the triad that Kai needs to take down.

Despite his love for his beloved son, Uncle Six is prepared to go as far as to kill him to retain his power.

He controls fire, after all, and has no qualms about using it as means to the ends.

However, the story is not just about Kai and Uncle Six, and the fight between the duo which forms the crux of all the brilliant action sequences.

As mind-blowing as the martial arts in the series is, and as mesmerizing as the CGI for supernatural elements is, it is the story arcs and the character development that reels you in.

The relationship between Kai and Uncle Six is a beautifully complex one. In fact, his infinite love for Kai may be Six’s only redeeming quality. (Daniel Power/Netflix)

Kai is primarily linked to three childhood friends—the intelligent and badass Jenny (Li Jun Li), her brother Tommy (Lawrence Kao), the drug addict who is seeking redemption, and the suave and ambitious Lu Xin Lee (Lewis Tan) who is loyal to a fault.

The relationships between the four are complicated, layered and deep, and ‘Wu Assassins’ does complete justice to it.

We see that despite Kai’s brooding loner vibes, and self-imposed distance from his friends, it is them that he turns to in times of need.

His contradictions only unravel when he is with them, and it is beautiful to watch the show explore their past over the course of many episodes.

Even the relationship between Kai and Uncle Six is a beautifully complex one.

In fact, his infinite love for Kai may be Six’s only redeeming quality.

We almost feel bad for him, when we see Kai turning him down over and over and over again.

‘Wu Assassins’ also explores abusive parenting in the midst of a supernatural, martial arts series with a predominantly Asian American cast.

Seriously, how many checkboxes can one show tick?

 

When it comes to the visual effects, ‘Wu Assassins’ may not please everyone.

However, if you are a huge fan of martial arts, this is easy to forgive. As is the occasional stoic delivery of dialogues.

What you do find in abundance is the action which more than makes up for any other underwhelming aspects. 

If you are a fan of the old Jackie Chan movies and looking for new and modernized versions of such fare, I would waste no more time in logging on to Netflix.

‘Wu Assassins’ was added to the Netflix library on Thursday, August 8.

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