The King of the Streets (2012)

Posted in Reviews by - November 04, 2014
The King of the Streets (2012)

Predictable fight movie from China dogged by pacing issues and a leading man who has seemingly suffered from a charisma lobotomy. It’s an effort to fully warm to the expressionless Yue Song in the lead role, playing a damaged former streetfighter determined to get his young life back on track after eight years behind bars. He winds up protecting an orphanage from a gang of kung fu hoods who apparently want the land to build a resort. The story and characters are riddled with cliche, but at least Yue Song gets the action right: it’s authentic, visceral stuff and free from any wires or special effects. “Bruce Lee belongs to the screen, and Tyson to the ring. But I belong to the streets,” says his character during a flashback sequence. It’s not clear whether the line is said ironically, because it’s hard to know where Yue Song’s character begins and ends. As the film’s director, writer, editor, choreographer and star, the film quickly resembles a one-man tribute reel, as rooms full of stuntmen are powerless against his supreme kicking and punching. He even writes and sings the theme tune, lending a distinctive punk rock cadence to the song like a Chinese Joe Strummer. This is OK, but not essential.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a keyboard in London, UK.

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