Show: Wu Assassins, Season 1
Plot: A warrior chosen as the latest and last Wu Assassin must search for the powers of an ancient triad and restore balance in San Francisco’s Chinatown.
I went into Wu Assassins not knowing what to expect. I came out of it not being certain how I felt.
The premise is quite simple: a young man finds he has a destiny to defeat the Wu – elementals with powers they are using for harm rather than good.
The actuality, of course, is not nearly that straightforward. Especially when one of the Wu is Kai’s own adoptive father and leader of the Triad. Gifted with new powers, Kai must learn what needs to be done, how to control his new gift and, ultimately, what type of person he is as to whether he can live up to the burden suddenly placed on him.
I found it difficult to connect or empathise with the characters. While this became easier as the season went on, as it was only ten episodes long, you were over halfway through before you got a feel of who was who, what inspired them and what their weaknesses were.
Kai was a solid hero: he had his flaws; he had his strengths; and he had the drive to keep going. Jenny was an incredibly gifted fighter for a restaurant owner. Tommy was your cliché waste-of-space character with the chance to redeem himself. Lu Xin was the cocky/overconfident friend who nearly messes everything up. And, of course, CG the undercover cop who gets more than she bargains for.
The plot follows the team trying to stop the Wu. There seemed to be very clear lines at the beginning: if you were a Wu, you were bad. Although this blurred, it felt like Kai accepted the fact he would have to kill far too easily. It sometimes wasn’t clear precisely why these Wu were so bad. As the season progressed, you learn they are all up to no good, but it felt like it took a long time to get to that point.
What drew my attention was the elemental aspect. I wanted to see how it was portrayed as a character study for my novel. The magic was cool, although there was never any real understanding of the strength/limitations of each of the powers. For example, the metal Wu only seemed to possess someone – he never did more than that.
It was the visuals and choreography that made this show. There are a lot of extended fight scenes (sometimes feeling like they are going for too long!). But the hand-to-hand combat was artistically constructed and guns had no part when martial arts are a man’s (or woman’s) best weapon. But despite the visuals being inspiring, some of the fights didn’t seem to advance the plot and were there just to show of the skills of the actors involved.
I wanted to see how it concluded and how the characters advanced. At only ten episodes long, it worked to hold my attention There just wasn’t any moment when I was completely immersed and eager for more.
Not completely engaging, but a short, action-packed series if you need one.