January 17, 2022 (NYC)–Fistful of Vengeance (2022)-Movie Review. Fistful of Vengeance is a martial arts fantasy directed by Roel Reine’ Starring Iko Uwais and Lewis Tan. This Netflix original film picks up where the cancelled series, Wu Assassins, left off. I give it a rating of 3/5 stars.
Iko Uwais is, undoubtedly, the most exciting martial arts action star since Bruce Lee. His speed, fighting skill, and personal charm are all the elements that have made him an international superstar, with such hits as The Raid, The Raid 2, The Night Comes For Us, and Headshot. Wu Assassins was an opportunity to expose Uwais to a broader audience using Netflix’s platform. The show was good; however, the problem was that the show did not do a great job of letting Uwais’ fighting skills or acting shine. Fistful of Vengeance is a fun ride, but it suffers the same fate. It does a better job of letting Uwais’ violent and visceral style come through as this is a more adult vehicle, but there is so much more he can do. We have seen it.
Lewis Tan is a charming and gifted screen presence. Wu Assassins preceded his meteoric rise in the Mortal Kombat reboot but he was very good in it. He is equally good and fun to watch in this one. Tan is solidly Tan throughout, and a great partner for Uwais.
Lawrence Kao has a more mature and intense role in this film than he did in the series. From the troubled brother trying to find his place he has been elevated to the fulcrum of the “Vengeance” the title refers to as he seeks to avenge the murder of his sister, Jenny, a great part of the original series.
The absence of Katheryn Winnick is palatable here. She was one of the best parts of the original series. While there is an attempt to replace her role with a police love-interest for Tan this is an insurmountable task.
The plot is thin and and, mainly, a vehicle for showcasing the fighting, effects, and relationships. The dialogue is a little forced. The Direction and Cinematography are good. The visuals of Bangkok make a great setting. A tight 95 minutes doesn’t give you time to ask too many questions about the plot holes. You do not need to have seen the series to watch, enjoy, and understand this one. I think the absence of the Wu Assassins name in the title is intentional to draw in a broader audience.
The fighting and fight choreography are good and exciting. Again, not as visceral and realistic as I like with Uwais, but still engaging and fun to watch.
The soundtrack is also very good.
Fistful of Vengeance is worth watching. It is even more fun if you are a Wu Assassins fan.
This one is available exclusively on Netflix
-Review by Marc Zirogiannis
- Iko Uwais as Kai Jin
- Lewis Tan as Lu Xin Lee
- Lawrence Kao as Tommy Wah
- JuJu Chan as Zan Hui
- Pearl Thusi as Adaku
- Francesca Corney as Preeya
- Jason Tobin as William Pan
- Rhatha Phongam as Ku An Qi
- Simon Kuke
- Katrina Grey as Interpol Agent