Greetings valued Dan's Movie Report readers. Although I watched 'Fistful of Vengeance' awhile back, I decided to re-watch and assess my views. After the Netflix 'Wu Assassins' dropped I fully expected a season 2, then I actually thought a movie would work, I mean part of the story closed, and yet parts were open.
'Fistful of Vengeance' is essentially a final episode of the saga, yet can work as a stand alone movie. I have to make a statement about this prior to my review. Due to the Covid situation many things had to change, as the original location of Canada had strict requirements and regulations. My main complaint here is that the entire first season budget and now this movie was too small for what it wanted to do, this is not a knock on any of the film makers especially Roel Reine, the director who did an amazing job for what he had to work with. That said, my main issue here is the story seemed rushed.
'Fistful of Vengeance' sees the return of Iko Uwanis as Kai, Lewis Tan as Lu Xin and JuJu Chan-Szeto as Zan. The film opens with a cover of 'In The Air tonight' and the entire first season is summarized in a few moments, but the creators assumed if you are watching this film, the first season has already been consumed. We get right into the action interspersed between conversation. Bangkok, Thailand is the setting, the story flails out from there.
With only 90 minutes to tell a story, 'Fistful of Vengeance' relies more on flash than story to search for Jenny's killer. This is a good continuation of ideas, then Dr Pan comes in and they discuss the story of Pan Gu, again a solid plot point. He states that Pan Gu went mad with power, this the Wu Assassin was called down to strike the first man. O.K., this set up is solid, yet at this new entity Ku An Qi, a new powerful person so Lu Xin is tasked to take her out.
OK with that set up, I was like wait minute, what about JuJu's Zan charter. This is my main issue with the story, it is like they try to start a whole new story when I was like Zan escaped at the end of the last season. Why not use that?
Writing aside, for what they had to work with 'Fistful of Vengeance' is a decent effort. The movie has elements of action and drama, a buildup to the action. Director Roel Reine really shines as he is able to draw some solid emotional scenes and an amazing fight at the end, Well placed camera work, solid musical score and editing are Roel's specialty and it shows,
Iko Uwanis and Lewis Tan chew scenery and have some great dialogue, and decent action. The first 20 minutes of the film a scant minute is spent on an action scene, which occurs in a moving van. This establishes the story. The lack of real action during this time is where another few minutes of movie is preferable.
The newcomers to the cast Pearl Thusi as Zama Zulu, Francesca Corney as Preeya, and Yayaying Rhatha Phongam as Ku An Qi add an air of sultry bad ass. Once again, Roel is great pushing for a balance of female main stars getting in on the action and meaty dialogue. All three ladies really made the film fun and entertaining, great style and panache. Pearl adds an air of commanding presence as well.
Since Roel has shot in Thailand several times he makes the most of the scenery with a well shot boat chase sequence complete with multiple camera angles, reminding me of his other film 'Hard Target 2'.
JuJu shines again as Zan in action, style and acting diabolical, though I wish the story was more focused on her, Perhaps if they had a second season each of the four ladies would have had their own feature episode. She has a really spectacular fight at the end, well shot, well lit, actually she does not make an appearance until after the 30 minute mark, with a solid fight.
Not spoiling the rest of the plot, I will just say that Ku An Qi character is really cool and well conceived. The movie is violent, truculent, and crazy. Even with the small budget, the film manages to end the story of 'Wu Assassins' leaving little doubt.
Overall I liked 'Fistful of Vengeance', minor gripes aside with story and budget, the film is on Netflix and worthy of a watch, rating a 6 out of 10.
Check out the official Netflix trailer:
For Further information go to www.netflix.com
Please check out my detailed JuJu Chan-Szeto interview for 'Wu Assassins' TV series @ http://dansmoviereport.blogspot.com/2019/08/actress-juju-chan-chats-wu-assassins-c.html