Fatal Contact movie review

Fatal Contact is first martial arts movie that wants to bring the impressive skills of Wu Jing on the big screen and unusual low-budget actioner from writer, director and producer Dennis Law. Since Jing’s successful appearance in SPL along side Donnie Yen and Sammo Hung his fanbase grew bigger and bigger and the voices that demanded to see more of him became louder.

Jing shows that he has great on-screen charisma and he proves that one day he might be the one to replace the likes of Jackie Chan and Jet Li, since these two also don’t get any younger. After watching this movie there won’t be anyone that will doubt Jings martial arts skills, that much is for sure.

Let’s first take a look at the film’s weaknesses, which definitely lie within the script. Of course, you feel reminded of so many beat-em-up flicks and somehow also of those underground fighting movies like Circuit with Olivier Gruner, Undisputed with Scott Adkins, Bloodsport. Still, at times the story tries really hard to become more profound and dramatic, which is really a plus for the overall picture. Yet, it fails when it comes to the dialogues and the director who just doesn’t seem to know how to combine these dramatic aspects with the rest of the movie. The dialogues yet the interlaced and confusing dialogues just get really annoying at some point. It becomes obvious that the script writer himself wasn’t too sure anymore what he acually wanted to say. This is especially harmful to the tragic aspect of the film, which becomes even more apparent when towards the end the drama somewhat suddenly kicks in again whereas we aren’t really prepared for what is coming.

Wu Jing, who was first discovered by Yuen Wo-Ping and turned into a martial arts star in 1996 in Tai Chi 2, stars as Kong. With his sincere smile and a devastating mastery of martial arts, Wu Jing does an incredible job with bringing the duality of his character to the screen. Wu Jing has been studying martial arts since he was six, when he first enrolled at the Beijing Wushu Academy, and that comes across with every bone-crushing blow and lightening-fast defensive move. What is equally impressive about Wu Jing is that when he is not fighting he can give an emotional and convincing performance which carries the story, rather than just being filler in between action sequences.

Wu Jing plays a man blinded by love, who looks a bit naive and simple-minded, but for the same reasons also proves to be a nice guy and reminds old-fashion heroes of 80s. Later on, he shows more of his darker side and still, apart from some scenes at the end, it shines through only slightly and isn’t really apparent.

In the fight scenes, there is only one star Wu Jing. For this movie he underwent some special Sanda-training, despite the fact that he is already skilled in several martial arts styles. Sanda literally means free fighting and distinguishes itself from other styles by its directness and effectivity. It’s not a coincidence that some of the moves look like being from Muai Thai boxing, however, Sanda also has several powerful throws.

Martial arts sequences have been made under supervision of Nicky Li, a stunt coordinator who has worked with the Jackie Chan Stunt Team. Combination of complicated choreography and anarchic street brawling brings a potpourri of different action styles and techniques to Fatal Contact, with each of the ten fight sequences different and more exciting than the next. Li knows how to make a fight look visually interesting, and how to make the pain of each blow seemingly fly off the screen.

Wu Jing is fast, powerful and acrobabatic. The fights are all very brutal and in-your-face style, nonetheless there is no lack of aesthetics. In one single shot Jing fires complex punch-ellbow combos at his enemy, at other times he executes incredible spinkicks and uses interesting throwing moves.

Fatal Contact is one of those rare movies that place emphasis on true martial arts action, without trying to look to slick. And it works pretty well, because the fights are real eyecandies.

The director who was formerly active as a producer for movies like Election, however, makes the big mistake to put too much emphasis on unimportant details. At first you think that this is just a martial arts movie meant to entertain the viewer, but then some drama kicks in. Despite all the hints the typical Hong Kong ending hits the screen a bit too suddenly and moreover feels inappropriate. Here, you can see best that the script really would have needed some more work.

Martial arts fans will definitely get their money’s worth and won’t get enough of the fight scenes and Wu Jing’s skills!