Starring: Wu Jing, Sott Edward Adkins and Yu Nan
This afternoon my wife wanted to see the new Cinderella but, thank fuck, we’d already missed it. Then we noticed the trailer for Wolf Warrior which was playing on some of the monitors in the lobby. With it’s soldiers, helicopters and green forest setting it was giving off a definite ‘Predator’ vibe. Then I registered Scott Adkins kicking someone across the screen for a split second and it was decided- we’d buy tickets to see Wolf Warrior.
It starts with a special forces raid on some remote criminal headquarters. Maverick sniper Wu Jing ignores orders not to fire and takes out one of the bad guys who was threatening a hostage, shooting him in the head. He gets his wrists slapped in a disciplinary hearing which culminates in his promotion to an elite squad known as the Wolf Warriors, whose boss happens to be the Chinese chick who was in Expendables 2. She doesn’t command from the ground? Just directs the action (mostly just asking people if they’re okay) from a control room miles away from the action.
Jing is airlifted, dangling from a helicopter, into the middle of nowhere to meet his new team. They appear in APCs and tanks and drive right up to him, the sarge’s tank cannon stopping within inches of Jing’s face, in a nice display of unflinching bravery and military hardware. Why they’d actually do it like that I don’t know, but I was beginning to think I was watching a Chinese Expendables 3.
Once the introductions have been made, it’s onto a military training exercise with the Warriors and another team facing off against each other in the woods. Then Adkins turns up, bold as brass, with a gang of foreign mercenaries. Their boss is the brother of the hostage taker Jing took out at the beginning and I gather that revenge is the objective. There’s also something about bio-weapons developed specifically to target Chinese in there, but it didn’t seem particularly relevant to me.
When the threat becomes apparent, live rounds and grenades are air dropped in for the Chinese and they go after the mercenaries, who turn out to be a bunch of piss ants with the exception of Adkins. The foreigners are trespassing and Chinese honour has to be restored.
It has an ’80s vibe ? there’s even a guy with a mini gun. But the writing takes some strange turns. There’s a scene where Jing and his friends are attacked by a pack of wolves, yes, actual slavering, below-par CGI wolves. They fix bayonets and literally get stuck in. In another scene they don these red patches with the motif “I fight for China.” Really? One of the last lines of dialogue was an army colonel musing “Those who challenge China’s resolve will have no safe place to hide.” Is it just me, or is this movie just a blatant exercise in propaganda?
When he gets to flex his muscles Adkins is great. He delivers some great kicks and punches and there’s a knife fight between him and Jing at the end. But I understand that Jing also has some martial arts chops and the pair of them are criminally under used. There’s not enough ass-kicking action and too much lame-ass comedy which just doesn’t translate. As I said to my wife, this one won’t make much of an impact outside of China, except perhaps for the curiosity value.
As for the score, if the Raid 2 is a six, I guess I might give this a four. At least it has the decency not to go on for more than an hour and a half. But all the best kicks, jabs and gunshot wounds are in the trailer.