Netflix's 'Wu Assassins' Trailer Pushes Forward the New Kung Fu Renaissance
It’s an exciting time to be a martial arts buff. Wu Assassins, a slick new martial arts fantasy coming to Netflix on August 8, has finally released its first trailer. Fast, kinetic, and set to the rhythmic bars of Snoop Dogg and the Higher Brothers, Wu Assassins is shaping up to be a new entry to today’s growing list of exciting martial arts TV out right now.
On Tuesday, Netflix released the first trailer for Wu Assassins, a show that’s had early buzz due to its almost all-Asian ensemble cast. Set to premiere August 8, the series stars Iko Uwais (The Raid) as Kai, a San Francisco Chinatown chef who discovers he’s the avatar of the ancient “Wu Assassin” (Mark Dacascos).
Facing down a powerful Triad with supernatural connections, Kai teams up with an undercover cop (Katheryn Winnick) and a chaotic neutral gang member (Lewis Tan) to save San Francisco.
In addition to the trailer, Netflix also released a handful of preview stills, which you can see embedded below.
Wu Assassins is just the latest martial arts series garner a mountain of hype. On Cinemax, Bruce Lee’s unmade pilot was made real in Warrior, which just earned a second season renewal. On YouTube, the actually-incredible Cobra Kai picks up decades after the cult Karate Kid films that defined the ‘80s. And on Netflix, you can binge-watch every season of Into the Badlands and Marvel’s Daredevil.
We’re not quite at the martial arts fever pitch last seen in the ‘80s and ‘90s, which was no doubt influenced by the popularity of the David Carradine series Kung Fu. But Wu Assassins joins Cinemax’s Warrior as a fresh take on the martial arts action sub-genre, and with a distinctly Asian cast and dope hip-hop soundtrack, Wu Assassins feels like something special. That’s something we never got watching David Carradine stumble through his fight scenes on Kung Fu.
What’s especially exciting about Wu Assassins is its full embrace of supernatural fantasy. Not since Avatar: The Last Airbender has there been such an unabashed portrayal of East Asian or Asian-inspired fantasy mythology. The concept of a reincarnated “Wu Assassin” feels straight from another draft of Avatar or even The Crow, the gothic comic books/1994 film that famously starred Bruce Lee’s son, Brandon Lee, who died on the set.
The show also feels like an unsubtle rebuff at Marvel’s Iron Fist, proving what could have been done with proper time, preparation, and experienced performers. Though Marvel fans have mercilessly dragged Iron Fist for years, it should be said that lead star Finn Jones wasn’t given enough time to prepare for his role as Danny Rand.
The show also resisted Iron Fist’s supernatural-isms from his comic book stories, which would have been genuinely exciting to see in the MCU. Instead we were stuck watching rich white assholes walk in and out of post-modern New York lofts. Hopefully Wu Assassins delivers all the goofy craziness Iron Fist couldn’t, and so much more.
Wu Assassins will begin streaming on Netflix on August 8.