The title of this movie sounds pretty standard as kung fu movies come. You’d expect that there’s a really strong kung fu guy who kills a lot of people. Well, that is actually the case, but there is a pretty interesting plot in place. Basically, there is a serial killer that kills only martial artists, and he doesn’t just go around taking out master martial artists with like a bazooka or anything–he kills them with the martial arts they are the most skilled at.
Donnie Yen plays the role of an expert martial artist (of course) who has been locked up in jail because he once killed a man in a martial arts duel. He gets himself released from jail on the special condition that he can help catch this martial arts serial killer.
What I enjoyed about this film was that it basically took a sort of murder mystery CSI approach to a classic kung fu martial arts tournament and melded two successful formulas into one, and that made for a pretty interesting plot, albeit still a bit predictable, but that’s what you would expect with a formula plus formula plot.
Also, there’s a bit of underlying martial arts angst, the struggle between martial arts as an art form of self expression and improvement against martial arts as brutal killing technique. In that sense, the title “Kung Fu Killer” can have a multiple meanings, skilled kung fu master that kills many, skilled killer of kung fu master, or the existential killer of kung fu as an art form.
I think this film was probably made with people who have an appreciation for the fundamental values of martial arts as the target audience, but for anyone who can’t understand why Ken vs. Ryu and Naruto vs. Sasuke are just fights that have to happen, it’s a pretty high action, high impact, ground and pound them kung fu movie with an interesting storyline that anyone can find exciting to watch.