WOLF WARRIOR II (2017) review


Two years after the unexpected success of Wolf Warrior helped him regain leading man status, Wu Jing is back as a co-writer, director and star  for the sequel, bolstered with a much bigger budget, and input from the Russo Brothers (of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Infinity Wars fame). He once again plays elite soldier Leng Feng of the Wolf Warrior Squadron: disgraced after nearly killing a man who was threatening the family of a fallen comrade, he is also grieving the loss of the woman he loved, his superior officer Long Xiaoyun (Yu Nan), who was killed during a mission in Africa. Now, Leng is living a quiet life by the sea in Africa, but the harsh reality catches up with him when civil war tears the country apart, with a rebel army killing men, women and children. With the Chinese army unable to intervene or extract the small Chinese community that lives in the country, it is left to Leng to find and rescue a Chinese doctor who’s been working on a vaccine for a deadly virus that has been plaguing this part of Africa. Along the way, he meets doctor Rachel (Celina Jade), and must contend with a team of ruthless international mercenaries headed by Big Daddy (Frank Grillo).




  With Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Donnie Yen approaching their fifties or even sixties, and looking to extend their acting ability as a way of staying relevant (which all three did superbly), the world of movie martial arts has been in dire need of a new beacon. For a while it looked like Tony Jaa was the heir apparent, with films like Ong Bak 1 & 2 and Tom Yum Goong displaying his amazing abilities. But his output has been both surprisingly sparse and strangely compromised by shady ties with the Thaï mob. But one other name deserves mention, that of Jacky Wu Jing. Wu was spotted in the mid-90’s by the great Yuen Woo Ping, but apart from two minor films, he didn’t do much in that decade to get himself known. But at the beginning of the noughties, he started cropping up in a variety of supporting roles where he more often than not played the “silent but deadly henchman with a strange hairstyle”. Films such as Wilson Yip’s S.P.L. (where his alley fight against Donnie Yen became an instant classic), Benny Chan’s Invisible Target and Dennis Law’s Fatal Move firmly put him on the map, but in order to really leave a mark, he would have to become a leading man, and Legendary Assassin was in 2008 his second attempt at that (the first one being Dennis Law’s Fatal Contact in 2006).