Fei Ying Xiong, an indigent comic book artist, is romantically interested in Bao’er, but the head manager of their company, who also has a interest in Bao’er, prevents that from happening. So, he summons four legendary Kung Fu masters to learn the highest level of martial arts and help him get his girl.
Originally titled “Gong fu lian meng ” Kung Fu League is a 2018 release now under distribution from the team at Well Go USA. Kung Fu League is best described as a mash up of sorts showcasing stunning martial arts moves against the underlying story (falling somewhere between a fantasy, love drama, science fiction and comedy effort). What I enjoyed most about the film is that it’s a story that has purpose, direction, and resolve.
Speaking of the story, at the heart we have young cartoonist Fei Ying Xiong (Fei Ying Xiong) working at a local comic book graphic novel organization. While still an employee of the company, Fei Ying Xiong works hard while never really receiving the accolades that he deserves. Coming from a poor upbringing, his talents are somewhat squandered against the clean-cut upper management who don’t appear to pay much mind to him or his concerns. Fei Ying Xiong has a crush on co-employee Bao’er (Madina Memet), a pretty young girl who he has been trying to work up the nerve to approach. When he does finally decide to make a move per way of a personal hand written letter, he is accused of stealing while placing the letter in her purse.
This setup really is where all things start. Fei Ying Xiong embarrassed and frustrated takes his “masters of kung fu” artwork and places a wish for their help in training him to also be a master. While fantastical, his wish is soon granted per a dream where he magically time transports the 4 legendary kung fu champions into his present day.. The masters consist of Master Wong Fei-Hung (Zhao), Ip Man (To), Chen Zhen (Chan Kwok-Kwan) – aka Bruce Lee and Huo Yuan Jia (On). The 4 of them known for their different respectful styles and martial arts level skill sets are soon placed in a world they don’t recognize, complete with cell phones, McDonalds and hackers thieves that dare try and confront them.
It’s all pretty humorous as they try and acclimate to the modern world. Being that they are martial arts masters, it is the exactly the ability which provides them the chops necessary to take on opposers with relative ease. The 4 of them, now realizing that they are far from home, seek out the source of their time displacement eventually leading them to the location of young Fei Ying Xiong .
During this time, we learn more about the romance that is brewing. This is challenged under the weight of Bao’er’s employer who additionally takes a liking to her. On the master side, Wong who was on the bring of marrying his 10 year love interest before being time ported begins to uncover details about her he didn’t expect from past found artifacts.
Per use of special effects, martial arts, practical effects wires, and some clever cgi, we are exposed to these 4 masters brand of ass kicking. Though a single motive is preventing them from returning. Fei Ying Xiong desires to be trained as a Kung fu master himself to impress his love interest (sounds a little like a Karate Kid subplot brewing).
While the story moves forward nicely, there are still aspects that felt like they needed to move a little quicker. I enjoyed the film myself and thought the combination of elements was a nice touch. Certainly Chinese actor Madina Memet’s big dreamy eyes provide the film’s central attraction that gel entirely with the fact that Fei Ying Xiong has to get the girl in the end to round this out. The 4 masters are fun to watch highlighting the comical aspect of Chen Zhen who per Bruce Lee style has the need to remove his shirt before every conflict. Master Wong Fei-Hung (Zhao) provides a great range of martial arts moves reminiscent of the older Jet Li films.
Throwing in a bit of science fiction adding to its charm, “Kung Fu League” is a worthy film to worth watching. It’s biggest charm lies in simply having fun, while never really taking its content too serious.