FISTFUL OF VENGEANCE (2022) Reviews of Netflix martial arts movie

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Fistful of Vengeance is a 2022 action crime film thriller film about a young Chinatown chef who becomes entangled with a deadly Triad gang. The movie is a standalone addition to the Wu Assassins Netflix series.

Directed and co-produced by Roel Reiné (Redbad; Dead Again in Tombstone; Those Who Would Destroy Us; Hard Target 2; The Man with the Iron Fists 2; Dead in Tombstone; Death Race: Inferno; The Scorpion King 3: Battle for Redemption; Death Race 2) from a screenplay co-written by Cameron Litvack and co-producer Yalun Tu.

The movie stars Iko Uwais (The Raid; Beyond Skyline), Lewis Tan (Mortal Kombat), Lawrence Kao (Max Steel), JuJu Chan Szeto (Jiu Jitsu; Hollow Point), Pearl Thusi (Queen Sono), Jason Tobin, Francesca Corney, Tony Kranz and Rhatha Phongaam.



Super-powered assassin Kai Jin (Iko Uwais) and friends Lu Xin Lee (Lewis Tan) and Tommy Wah (Lawrence Kao) track a killer from San Francisco’s Chinatown to Thailand to avenge the death of a loved one. However, their hunt soon entangles them with old enemies, a mysterious billionaire and an ancient mystical force bent on taking over the world…


Our review:

Fistful of Vengeance has a running time of 95 minutes and I have to admit that I spent a good deal of the film in a state of confusion. While some of that was undoubtedly due to my ADD, there are two other factors to consider:

First off, Fistful of Vengeance is based on a show called Wu Assassins. The movie takes place immediately after the end of the show’s first season. At this point, I should go ahead and admit that I have never seen the show. The movie does start with a quick recap of who everyone is and why they’re running around the world and fighting supernatural warriors and, from what I’ve read, the film itself is meant to be stand-alone work of entertainment. That said, I’m sure it can be argued that my lack of knowledge of Wu Assassins affected my ability to actually follow the plot of Fistful of Vengeance.

The second thing to consider about Fistful of Vengeance is that the plot really didn’t matter. Yes, there are a lot of people conspiring against each other. Yes, there’s a lot of talk of talismans and spirits and monsters and ancient powers. And, yes, there’s international cartels and magical warriors.

There’s a mystery to be solved, as Tommy (Lawrence Kao) and his friends try to track down the person or persons responsible for the death of Tommy’s sister. New allies are found and a few surprisingly enthusiastic naughty scenes are staged. Enemies are fought and I assume that there’s a reason for it all. However, when watching the film, it soon becomes obvious that all of that plot is just there as an excuse for the action and the glossy images. Fistful of Vengeance is not plot-driven. Instead, Fistful of Vengeance is driven by style. And you know what? There’s not a damn thing wrong with that.

Seriously, you don’t watch a film like this because you’re searching for the meaning of life or because you’re hoping for some form of greater enlightenment. You watch a movie like Fistful of Vengeance because you want to see good-looking people wearing nice clothes and kicking ass. One fight follows another and all you really need to know is that you want Kai Jin (played by action specialist Iko Uwais), Tommy, and their team to win. You don’t really need to know who they’re fighting or why they’re fighting.

Instead, the appeal is watching the artistry of the kicks and the punches and the tossing of weapons. Add in some monsters and some magical powers and a nice propulsive soundtrack and the movie pretty much has everything that an audience needs to be entertained. It’s a big, glossy, colourful and a rather silly movie. It’s fun and it really doesn’t demand much. It’s not really a film that’s going to stick with you but watching it is also hardly a terrible way to spend 95 minutes of your day.

Lisa Marie Bowman, guest reviewer via Through the Shattered Lens

Other reviews:

“Relationships are key in Fistful of Vengeance seeing Tommy develop into a character with his own drive and his own power in the story helps round out a great story […] A near-perfect fantasy-action-adventure, Fistful of Vengeance brings everything that action fans will want. It brings fantasy and violence together and leaves you wanting more.” But Why Tho?

” …the camera-rig experiment leaves no space for improvisation, adaptation, or human mistakes, and it makes the fight feel too rehearsed and lacking in urgency. In the hands of a more talented filmmaker, this movie had the potential to become a new martial-arts classic. In Reiné’s, it’s the kind of thing that plays well as an evening’s diversion on Netflix, but doesn’t ever rise above the level of “just another good mid-tier actioner.” Polygon

“On the minus side, the constant use of songs rather than a proper score got on my nerves […] And while most of the effects were practical and quite good, the usual animated blood spray takes away from several scenes’ effectiveness. Overall though there’s a lot to like about Fistful of Vengeance and not a lot to complain about. It’s a fast-paced and bloody supernatural action film.” Voices from the Balcony


Fistful of Vengeance will stream on Netflix from February 17th 2022.

Cast and characters:

Lewis Tan … Lu Xin Lee
Iko Uwais … Kai Jin
JuJu Chan Szeto … Zan Hui
Jason Tobin … William Pan
Yayaying Rhatha Phongam … Ku An Qi
Pearl Thusi … Zama
Lawrence Kao … Tommy Wah
Apasiri Kulthanan … Interpol Agent
Katrina Grey … Interpol Agent
Selina Wiesmann … Green-Eyed Woman
Francesca Corney … Preeya
Alexander Winters … Interpol Tech
Gigi Velicitat … Agent Boucher
Joseph Angelo … Bartender

Filming locations:

Bangkok, Thailand


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