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[Netflix] Wu Assassins aka Holy Neo-90s Schlock, Batman!

Cloud Divider

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Oh, thank God, I thought it was just me. He's got some skeletons in his closet, I think. Note how easily he figured out what Kai was up to with the poison. How many grocers would put those pieces together?
Yeah. I don't know what his angle is, but he definitely has something else going on... I don't think he's just Kind Old Neighborhood Grocer with a fistful of wise aphorisms (I really like that he was throwing out lines from Steve Jobs and whoever, not just Confucius and Sun Tzu).

I don't know if he's Enlightened, or a Secret Immortal, or what. But I think he's aware of enough legends or Secret Truth to have an idea what Kai is, and he probably remembers enough about his meeting with Uncle Six in the hospital that he's sniffing around for (I think) selfish purposes.

But yeah, I suspect he's figured out that the Guo (?) Venom means that Six's Wu powers may be up for grabs.

I should have kept the subtitles on. Are the tortoise shell McGuffins called Wu Jing? Wu Xing?
 
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Logos Invictus

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I really like that this show is dealing with group dynamics that are super common in Asian-American communities in specific and immigrant communities in general that don't get a lot of play in American entertainment - the idiosyncratic concepts of filial piety and group loyalty, the food-centeredness of social interactions, the casual jibes at Kai's heritage by his Chinese friends and peers, and the favor network and interactions with elders all rang true to a lot of Asian-American stories about growing up in diaspora communities.
 

Cloud Divider

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Indeed. I'm Asian-American myself, though not one of the more common denominations. Growing up, we usually glommed onto the local Chinese community (they were usually the largest and most "findable" in smaller cities). So I'm probably closer to Kai than the more ethnically Chinese characters in that regard.

Really neat seeing the cultural representation on the screen, even if it's basically a proxy (for me). I think that might be why Six's diner speech struck me like it did. Outside of a few things, my upbringing was pretty soundly American...so being thought of as an outsider when I'm...not...has always been something I've tried to... figure out...
 

Cloud Divider

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So I just finished it. The last couple of episodes (9-10, particularly) felt like they were pretty rushed. E8 introduces the 4th Wu General (Metal), and E9 introduces the 5th (Water). And then mostly resolves things halfway through Ep10.

Spoiler: Show
It's too bad, really. Six got some really nice buildup as Big Scary Wu General. Ditto for McCullough. The Earth guy got basically his one episode. Metal didn't get a ton of character development, but was a cool scary powerful enemy concept, what with the body-stealing, and power over lightning and electronic devices. Glau's Water Wu got...to play poker? And drown a dude? And make some toilet flushing sounds when she appears?

I really feel like I missed something when Ying Ying stopped meeting Kai in the Between space. Monk Decascos shows up to sorta say why, but that went as far to explain his presence. And then neither are anywhere to be seen when The Big Boss Fight That Wasn't happens.

I was really not expecting them to take out Uncle Six.


I suspect they kinda had to rush things along towards the end - they wanted to give enough "closure" for a proper ending in the event Netflix didn't pick them up for a second season, so they wanted to tie up most of the major loose ends.

The fight scenes were awesome, though. Kudos for that. I'll have to rewatch, but I swear they use a slightly more...substantial sound effect whenever someone got KO'd. It was really evident in the gun-and-fistfight in the lumber yard. When a goon finally goes down, the pipe/railing/whatever makes a rather more satisfying "gong," sound. Ditto when the one big dude gets face-slammed into the diner table back in E7 or so?
Spoiler: Show
What was up with that? No, not the fight in The Between.

I mean the "You got what you wished for, McCullough. You're back in Scotland/Ireland, your wife/kid are alive. Except you're old. And wearing modern clothes. And they're rightly freaked out about it. On the one hand, I can kind of understand that ending as "HAHA! KARMA IS INEVITABLE! Because of all the suffering you caused, all your dreams turn to ash! <Nelson>Ha Ha!</Nelson>

Sure, Karma's properly a Buddhist thing, but I'm sure if you dig around enough there's some appropriate Taoist philosophy that's similar.

And then Kai shows up and kills him. I'm not sure why this was strictly necessary. I mean, it was Zan who properly killed him. While she was working for McC, McC wasn't exactly the one pulling the trigger. And then Kai very nearly kills McC's wife in front of his kid. ???

I mean, maybe the point of that was supposed to be some kind of meditation on the nature and cycle of revenge.

But that section was just...muddled. It didn't even have a cool fight.

"Hey guys, we gotta wrap up the campaign here, and um. I'm fresh out of ideas. We've got 30 minutes, show me what you got..."


Some broad thoughts. The Wu Generals got their cool SFX kung fu. But Kai's Thousand Monk power was...woefully underutilized. They did some really cool stuff with it in the first couple episodes (Dacascos taking over when Cool Kung Fu is necessary). It would have been neat to give him some excuses to pull up Monk #287, even if just to pull out some other funky martial arts style. There's some even bigger potential, especially once we discover that the Wu generals and assassins came from all over the place throughout history. Maybe Monk 985 was a musketeer. But maybe that starts looking too much like Highlander: the Series...

Spoiler: Show
A few other last points on the S1 "closure" scene at Master Wah's...
- Oh! And Kindly Neighbor shows up again! And is also TOTALLY UNDEREXPLAINED. He sees Kai's gang as teenagers. I guess that's supposed to maybe suggest that Kindly Neighbor is actually Kai's Dad? And he's been Watching from the Shadows all this time?
- Then again, he shows up just a few moments before things go sideways and Ying Ying appears "in the flesh." Maybe he's always been aware that Kai's gang are all Chosen?
- CG shows up, and makes out with Li Xin before stealing his car. This was kinda out of left field. Again, I suspect there's some cut scenes where there's a little more...romantic chemistry between them. Or at least, in most of the episodes after the first.
- Graffiti with "Uncle Six lives!" was cute. But I'm not sure where that can possible go. He was kind of shot in the face. It's not like he died under mysterious circumstances.
- So how exactly is Kai still the Wu Assassin? Didn't his Wu Xing fragment get consumed opening the portal getting everyone else home? Actually, I'm not remotely sure what we're supposed to believe happened with the Wu Xing fragments after they were assembled and floated away. All of the Wu Generals seemed depowered, as was the Wu Assassin.
- But Ying Ying shows up, so I guess something happened. She knows how to make an entrance! Showing up right on time for an earthquake!
- Who was that dude offering Jenny Wah a job? Other than introducing a Romantic Rival for Season 2?

So yeah. When Wu Assassin's was on, it was ON. But when it's off (usually the pacing), it's...confusing (at best). I really suspect they had to do some really heavy editing, and cut out just a ton of stuff. Like easily a full episode's worth. Or they were originally expecting Netflix to buy, so wanted 60m episodes, but had to truncate to 41 minutes along the way.

Also, I have...really strong misgivings about using a chef knife THAT HAS BEEN USED TO KILL PEOPLE in a professional kitchen to prepare food. That just...weirds me out. I mean sure, you can wash/sterilize it. I don't care that the knife is the size of a small sword or giant dagger. It has drunk the lifeblood of at least two dudes (cut one dude's throat, and stabbed another dude in the heart) . I don't care that they were both Evil Wu Generals and deserved what they got. Call me superstitious, but that just feels like bad mojo.
 

Sigrid Hex

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Also, I have...really strong misgivings about using a chef knife THAT HAS BEEN USED TO KILL PEOPLE in a professional kitchen to prepare food. That just...weirds me out. I mean sure, you can wash/sterilize it. I don't care that the knife is the size of a small sword or giant dagger. It has drunk the lifeblood of at least two dudes (cut one dude's throat, and stabbed another dude in the heart) . I don't care that they were both Evil Wu Generals and deserved what they got. Call me superstitious, but that just feels like bad mojo.
Kai is not great with kitchen hygiene. There is a scene in, I dunno, maybe the first episode? Where he is using a knife to chop vegetables and then use his cool new Wu Assassin powers to toss the knife over onto the magnetic knife holder thingy. It looks bad ass but dude you're a professional chef you should really know better.
 

Fred

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I liked Wu Assassins a lot. I was especially pleased how they didn't cater to certain clichés. Like others, I also felt they kinda dropped the ball here and there, but, overall, nice work.

At first, I really thought they were going for the "won't kill, is going to find another way to extract the Wu Xing", but that didn't pan out. Although they seemed to be going for the curse of revenge.

I vote the kitchen fight between Jenny and Zan, in the third episode, as the best one in the show. I was actually wincing.
 

Boris

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I just started this, I'm up to episode 3 and enjoying myself. The supernatural bits are a bit cheesy and the CGI a bit crude, but there's a lot of heart. I like the old Chinatown themed otherworld with Ting Ting.

And the other bits of the plot are a fun, interesting crime story. Uncle Six is a particular highlight, very chilling. His second in command is also great. She lurks like a champ.

The fight scenes are pretty good. Impactful. I also like that the cooking scenes are filmed like fight scenes.

EDIT: Ooh, the kitchen fight with Jenny and Six's 2IC was great.
 
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Nihtgenga

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Fun show. Loved how the Fire Chicken prepration was more of training montage than the actual training montage.

The whiteboard in the initial writing brainstorming must have been amazing.

"Something like Big Trouble in Little China mixed with Iron Fist."
"Oooh. What about Last Airbender?"
"Triads."
"Everyone knows martial arts."
"Immortal Scottish Highlander."
"Summer Glau in tight ..."
"Bi"
"Right. Bi Summer Glau in tight leather pants."
 
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