Director: Yue Song
Starring: Yue Song, Becky Li, Yang Junping, Hou Xu, Wu Shenbiao
After a life changing brawl that results in legendary street brawler Feng (Yue Song) in jail, he is all but forgotten. Upon release years later, he has changed his quick to fight ways and looks to repent and live in peace. Finding himself the odd protector of an orphanage beset by thugs looking for a landgrab, Feng must use his formidable fighting skills to save the orphans, but at what cost?
Yue Song works overtime in this picture that features him starring as well as directing. Opening with the brawl that lands Feng in hot water, I was very worried. It utilized a lot of stylized camerawork and hyper editing that was to; presumably, give a comic style look to the film. Since this was in the opening credits, I tried not to have my misgivings develop early; that this would be a micro-edited cut a split-second production meant to cover up poor skill. Thankfully this did not turn out to be the case, but the film has some major problems, the least of which is the talent of the fighters on screen.
We start off with a very generic story that actually seems more like 80s Japanese television series. The angle that he would come up to defend an orphanage is so lazy that I literally rolled my eyes. I get that story is typically second priority in these type of productions but you can set your watch by the beats of the film. It’s the type of production that, as a martial art film fan, makes one grow bored with how generic the whole affair is and simply want to skip to the fights. Unfortunately, while competently performed, you are not likely to see anything out of the ordinary in terms of choreography.
Yue Song also takes the reins as action director in the film and he does give his character a fair bit of fight time. While it is clear that Song knows what he is doing as a martial artist, he clearly needs more time developing a style behind the camera. Fight choreography takes a step back with stuntmen waiting their turn to get hit and some very noticeable non-hits for a production boasting authentic martial artists. A long cut sequence towards the end features Feng facing off against a number of opponents in what I suppose was meant to be one of the standout pieces of the film, but basically amounts to Song throwing undercranked kicks at various stuntmen in sequence. It basically summarizes my feelings on the production as a whole; tentative, unsure, and unwilling to take chances.
Yue Song truly seems to be poised to breakout into films, but unfortunately King of the Streets isn’t going to be the one to do it. It is a decently done film but won’t satisfy discerning aficionados looking for the next big star. Hopefully, Song will take this film as a learning experience and further develop his technique and style to create more fully realized pictures, it would be a shame to lose someone of his fighting skill to the land of poor productions.
You may enjoy this film if you liked: High Kick Girl, Fist Power, and/or Lionheart
Special thanks to Well Go USA for providing a viewing copy!