13:00 - 12th March 2015, by Calum Waddell

Kung Fu Killer

Also known as Kung Fu Jungle (the name change bewilders us as well), this stylish and moody noir-style action-thriller is brought to us by veteran filmmaker Teddy Chan (Purple Storm) and stars a more intense than usual Donnie Yen. From an outstanding opening set piece, in which an imprisoned Yen battles all and sundry in a coolly-lit jailhouse, to an extensive and extravagant final battle, Kung Fu Killer certainly delivers in hard-fisted showdowns.

Yen allows himself to do a little more character acting than usual in his part as a martial arts master who has been locked behind bars after accidentally killing a rival fighter. However, he is able to escape his cell when he agrees to help the Hong Kong police find a serial slaughterer who is massacring the city’s top martial artists. Yen looks suitably downbeat and even a little dishevelled in this fast-moving actioner – allowing for a sharp performance and some delicate moments of reflection. On supporting duties, Charlie Young has a solid part as the female investigator who takes responsibility for Yen. Now aged 40 – and having done the genre thing for two decades (high points include New Police Story and Cold War) – the attractive Taiwanese thespian now fits into these roles without expanding too much energy. Actor Wang Baoqiang, meanwhile, who recently made an appearance in Yen’s Iceman (2014), has some smouldering battles as the titular psychopath. Indeed, if Kung Fu Killer proves to be the 51-year-old Yen’s wuxia swansong (and who knows how much longer he can keep this sort of pace up), then Baoqiang suggests himself as a solid replacement.

Brutal and bustling with energy, Kung Fu Killer is a fine mix of serial killer thriller and balls-to-the-wall action insanity…
SCORE: 3.5/5
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