Wushu - DVD Review
Director: Antony Szeto
Cast: Sammo Hung, Fengchao Liu, Wenjie Wang, Phoebe Wang
Run Time: 104 mins
Distributor: MVM Entertainment
Having arrived at a renowned Martial Arts school teaching the style of Wushu, a group of young boys swear allegiance to each other and form a close-knit group while studying under the guidance of father and instructor, Li Hui (Sammo Hung). A decade later, and with their skills refined for the forthcoming championships, they unexpectedly cross paths with a local villain, a former student of Li Hui's turned bad. The young men must put their combat skills to a real-life test in order to defeat their new enemy and destroy his child kidnapping ring.
Helmed by director Antony Szeto (DragonBlade, The Blood Bond) and executive producer Jackie Chan, Wushu promises a full-scale kung-fu assualt crafted under the watch of a skilled and talented team. The film certainly delivers in this sense and features arguably some of the most stunning, uninhibited demonstrations of Wushu witnessed on-screen in recent years. These young stars showcase some excellent talent sharing the stage with action legend, Sammo Hung, who gets to break out a few moves of his own (and for anyone who's seen Ip Man 2, knows he still moves with the best of them!).
Action aside, while being an enjoyable fare, Wushu sits very noticeably in the Mainland China camp and avoids addressing its subject with any stark attitude. As a '12' certficate, the violence and gratuity is kept to a minimum and even in the grim sub-plot of a child kidnapping ring, the film doesn't attempt to step beyond flamboyant fight choreography or well-meaning messages about the lead group ideologically 'sticking together' and the importance of 'following the right path'. The performances (both action and dramatic) are strong and the direction is clean and crisp, meaning you can enjoy all the stylised action in wide-angle, beautifully shot glory, but action fans (particularly those more accustomed to Hong Kong productions) may find the overall experience lacking necessary force.
Ultimately, Wushu is an enjoyable and entertaining Martial Arts outing and, especially for fans of the Wushu style, there is plenty to feast your eyes on. If you're familiar with the Mainland style of filmmaking, the results may not be too surprising, otherwise some may find the content a little too family-orientated. But for those who enjoy a physical showcase in the flashiest sense, take a seat and enjoy the experience.