Wolf Warrior, 2015.
Directed by Wu Jing.
Starring Scott Adkins, Wu Jing, Nan Yu, Kyle Shapiro and Kevin Lee.
A Chinese Special Forces soldier is targeted by a ruthless drug lord and his band of mercenaries.
When Chinese Special Forces sniper Leng Feng (Wu Jing) unconventionally kills a wanted criminal he is sent into solitary confinement where he is recruited by Commander Long Xiaoyun (Nan Yu – The Expendables 2) to join a crack team of soldiers known as the Wolf Warriors. But a training exercise is interrupted when the drug lord brother of Feng’s previous kill sends in his team of crack mercenaries – led by the lethal Tomcat (Scott Adkins – The Expendables 2/Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning) – to put an end to the Wolf unit and the man who murdered his brother.
Wolf Warrior is something of a mixed bag when it comes to an overall comment; there is some energetic camerawork that swoops up and down over the landscape and also a few inventive insert shots that show you some of the action from different and unusual angles, not to mention Scott Adkins and his seemingly superhuman martial arts skills – his climactic fight with Wu Jing is as exciting as it is superbly staged. On the flipside of that the film rockets along at a furious pace, which is fine when it is the action scenes but it also rushes through the key plot-driven scenes without letting you engage with anybody or, in the early stages at least, follow what is happening with any great ease. It doesn’t help that the subtitles flash across the screen just as quick and don’t always give you a chance to read them, and when they do stay on the screen long enough the English translation doesn’t always make sense. Also, white subtitles on a sunlit background isn’t helpful if you want to know what is being said and the film does this all too often.
But the action is the real selling point of Wolf Warrior and on that level it doesn’t disappoint. Not as brutal or graphic as Rambo but still packing a punch (so to speak) when it comes to violence, the film does feature several decent set pieces with some juicy gore thrown in. The blood effects are pretty good (although you can tell which are the obvious shot-for-3D scenes), which is more than can be said for the terrible CGI wolves that attack the unit during exercise in a scene that looks like it was cut from a Road Runner cartoon. There are lots of explosions, bullets flying and busy shootouts to keep action fans entertained and if that is enough for you then Wolf Warrior will service that particular requirement, but it is frustrating to follow during the crucial first act and once it is over it is unlikely to remain in the memory banks for too long.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★/ Movie: ★ ★ ★