'Kung Fu Killer' is standard issue but kicks it up with cameos

Review: 'Kung Fu Killer' is a solid martial arts film, plus a lot of wonderful cameos

For those Hong Kong martial arts movie buffs who find their attention flagging during the nonfight scenes in the Donnie Yen-starrer "Kung Fu Killer," there's always Name the Cameo.

Seemingly every walk-on outside of the leads in director Teddy Chan's frenzied action flick is a wink-wink appearance by a major player in the industry, from Golden Harvest giant Raymond Chow on down. (The end credits show them all, for you completists.)

Otherwise, this one's a fairly standard action package, with Yen an imprisoned fight instructor given temporary freedom by the Hong Kong police (led by Charlie Young's cool-headed detective) to find a serial killer (Wang Baoqiang). The psycho's gimmick: knocking off martial arts masters in various specialties, be it fistwork, footwork or weaponry.

"Ip Man" star Yen handles his handsomely serious appeal quite nicely as the hero, letting Wang work up a deliciously insane sweat as he screws his face into a dozen expressions of crazy. The plot is predictable, but the inevitable showdown is, appropriately, the movie's highlight, a ferocious hands-on battle — save for the balletic bamboo pole interlude — on a busy, night-lit expressway, with semis and cars roaring past. It's a climax worthy of the tribute thread running through "Kung Fu Killer."


"Kung Fu Killer"

MPAA rating: None.

Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes.

Playing: Laemmle's Playhouse 7, Pasadena; Laemmle's Royal, West L.A.; and Laemmle's NoHo 7, North Hollywood.

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