Starring: Wu Jing, Yu Nan, Ni Dahong
Director: Wu Jing
Running Time: 90 mins
Wolf Warrior is a Chinese film about a soldier who finds himself and his new elite team under threat from a drug trafficker after he killed the man’s brother, as a squad of brutal mercenaries is hired to take revenge.
It may be brash in its intense patriotism, but Wolf Warrior is no different to any of Hollywood’s jingoistic action extravaganzas. Although it lacks a properly engrossing story, following a fairly generic formula throughout, Wolf Warrior is a film with some fun action here and there, complete with a fairly light-hearted atmosphere that makes for a pretty enjoyable watch throughout.
If there’s anything that really helped to make this film an entertaining watch, it’s the fact that it isn’t overly serious or gritty at any point. Although the film is clearly going for an atmosphere full of hard-as-nails action that shows the bravery of the most elite soldiers in the army, my general impression of it was a far lighter one, and with the film’s excessively (and almost comically) patriotic vibes, you can have good fun watching Wolf Warrior.
The action is also a lot better than I expected. Although it at first may be a little visually frantic, due to an excessive use of shaky cam and Call Of Duty-style first-person perspective, it all plays into that idea of war and battles in a more sanitised and game-like environment. As most of the plot centres on the soldiers participating in military exercises, rather than live combat, mimicking the style of shooter video games is actually a lot more appropriate than is normally the case, and brings even more of a fun-loving vibe to the film’s atmosphere.
When it comes to the story, it’s a little bit more of a mixed bag. On the one hand, there’s ample room throughout for some really fun action sequences, and the film does a good job at letting those sequences do the talking, without ever getting bogged down in excessive exposition or character drama, the likes of which would have undoubtedly made for a far more boring watch.
On the other hand, there’s nothing really special about the plot here that’s particularly commenable. Apart from being simple and fun, the story is very generic from beginning to end, following a loose cannon soldier who learns the values of teamwork and all that after being whipped into shape by the elites, ultimately to prove himself once again in the end.
In that, the plot really won’t engross you in the way that some great action movies do, and that means that whenever the film steps away from its crazy action sequences in an attempt to get some storytelling done, it is far more boring to watch.
Overall, I was surprised that I had quite a bit of fun with Wolf Warrior. It’s loud, it’s brash and it’s incredibly jingoistic, but it’s light-hearted and crazy enough to sit back and enjoy regardless of its less-than-engrossing story, which is why I’m giving it a 7.1.