Netflix is set to launch its new martial arts series Wu Assassins, showing what audiences can expect with a first-look trailer. 2019 has seen a return of martial arts-driven storytelling, with Cinemax’s fun and engaging period drama Warrior, while Marvel made waves by announcing it has cast Simu Liu and Tony Leung in its upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings movie. For its part, Wu Assassins looks as though it will be a bit different, offering a martial arts series with a heavy supernatural presence that makes use of John Wick 3 star Marc Dacascos.
The series isn’t the first attempt by Netflix to offer this kind of stylized action, as the streaming giant’s Marco Polo blended historical fiction with an epic scale (and budget) to match. Then there’s also the much maligned Iron Fist series, which despite being a martial arts-driven show, struggled to achieve the sort of action set pieces that are a hallmark of such series. Perhaps third time will be the charm for Netflix, as it appears the streamer is going all in on Wu Assassins’ action potential by casting The Raid’s Iko Uwais as Kai Jin, the soon-to-be obligatory “chosen one” who is imbued with great power to overcome the evil that’s threatening the world.
While the premise may be a bit familiar, the trailer throws in a few interesting curveballs, like the fact that Kai must face off against his father, Byron Mann (Arrow), and that part of his newfound power involves a Sense8-like switching of personas that gives Dacascos a chance at some screentime. Take a look at the trailer for Wu Assassins and a synopsis of the series below:
“Wu Assassins follows Kai Jin, a young Chinatown chef in present day San Francisco, as he becomes entangled with the Chinese Triad’s pursuit of deadly ancient powers known as the "Wu Xing." After an encounter with a mystical spirit, Kai reluctantly becomes the Wu Assassin, using his enhanced martial arts skills to recover supernatural powers from five modern day criminals threatening to use them to destroy the world.”
It’s hard not to find the show appealing, considering Uwais’ incredible skills are being put to great use, and that the show seems to know how best to take advantage of Dacascos’s personality. Added to that is the presence of Vikings star Katheryn Winnick and Into the Badlands’ Lewis Tan. In all, it looks as though Wu Assassins may well add up to a fun action series to binge as summer rolls along.
Wu Assassins will stream exclusively on Netflix beginning Thursday, August 8.