“Kung Fu Killer” – 2015 Fantasia Film Review


With tilts toward “Seven” and “Silence of the Lambs” (“A Gentler Silence of the Seven Kung Fu Lam’s,” perhaps?), “Kung Fu Killer” (aka” Kung Fu Jungle,” 一個人的武林) stars Donnie Yen as Xia, an imprisoned martial arts master who convinces Hong Kong’s top police investigator (Charlie Yeung) to get him out of jail. His aim is to help her track down an insane kung fu serial killer whose next moves only Donnie is able to anticipate. Should Donnie’s hunch be correct, the killer has seven possible targets, and he intends to kill each of them using a different method.

Though the script too often takes a full body bath in cornball soup (one almost expects Donnie, at one point, to quip, “There Are No Strings On Me!”), and the martial arts owe as much to clever editing and the occasional green screen as opposed to expert skill, the final fight sequence involving pole fighting and mortal hand-to-hand combat, both between – and underneath – moving trucks is easily worth the price of admission. It’s a seeming homage to Liu Chia-liang (Cantonese: Lau Kar Leung) and Jackie Chan, who both briefly appear in vintage film clips, the latter with Simon Yuen Siu-tien.

Hard core Hong Kong film fans, however, will also want to watch for small roles and cameos by former Hong Kong stars, directors, fight choreographers and producers, among them David Chiang, Yuen Cheung-Yan, Sharon Yeung Pan Pan, Mang Hoi, Kirk Wong and Raymond Chow…all of whom are identified in a terrific “behind-the-scenes” end credit sequence.

“Kung Fu Killer” will be released by Well Go USA Entertainment on DVD and Blu-Ray on July 21. It also received its Quebec premiere at the 2015 Fantasia International Film Festival, and will screen twice on July 25. For ticket information, go to fantasiafestival.com.