ZN (2008)
Wushu


Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 03/22/2009

Any movie with Jackie Chan's name attached to it is bound to create some buzz, and Wushu is no exception. Produced by Chan and starring Sammo Hung along with a group of real-life wushu students, the film initially held some promise as a showcase for some hard-hitting and realistic kung fu action. There is, in fact, some action present, but there's also heaping doses of dopey comedy and melodrama thrown into the pot, which pretty much ruins the movie as a whole.

Wushu's main problem is that it doesn't seem to know what kind of movie it wants to be. The first half-hour or so is very much a kid's picture, as we follow a group of young wushu students as they get into various forms of mischief. As the kids grow up, things become more serious, as some of them go into competitions, while others try their luck in the movie industry. This plot could have actually worked, but then we're slammed with a totally unbelieveable and silly storyline about a kidnapping ring run by a former student.

As you might guess, since each of the story arcs don't have a lot of screen time devoted to them, none of them really end up working, and the film as a whole suffers. There's so much stopping and starting that it becomes frustrating to the viewer, especially when seemingly so much time is wasted in throwaway comedic scenes that will have you itching to hit the fast-forward button. Wushu does manage to gel together a bit by the end via a finely-made fighting sequence, but by then, most viewers will probably have lost all interest in the proceedings.

Sammo Hung's track record over the past few years has been very spotty. For every film like SPL, we get something like Legend of the Dragon. Likewise, after his solid work on Ip Man, the pendulum swings to the other end of the spectrum with this sub-par effort. The young actors and Sammo seem to be trying awfully hard and manage to produce a few small highlights here and there. But overall, Wushu is a poorly-made film that even the most die-hard Sammo fan will probably have a hard time sitting all the way through.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewer Score: 4