Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Film Review: The King of the Streets (2011)

The King of the Streets (Review)
China/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...the action can't save the hollow, generic plot."

After a vicious brawl lands him in prison, skilled fighter Yue Feng (Yue Song), also known as The Street Fighter, condemns his fighting and hopes to live an honest life...

The King of the Streets is a very simple and very generic story riddled with cheesy dialogue and ridiculous plot contrivances. The story follows Yue after he's released from prison as he attempts to stay away from fighting. He starts volunteering at an orphanage. Conveniently, this orphanage has been under attack by thugs hired by a rich company trying to buy the land -- by "buy", I mean force them off. So, Yue Feng must resort to his vicious skills to save the orphanage and redeem himself. The ending was out of place, misses its mark and, again, features an eye-rolling plot contrivance.

The story is bad, but the action is great. Yue Feng is vicious as he kicks his foes several feet through the air and delivers devastating punches -- all with fierce quickness. There isn't much fighting during the first half, but the second half explodes with the aforementioned action. However, the action can't save the hollow, generic plot. Usually, I'm one who can forgive or overlook plot contrivances, but this film has too many and they're way too convenient. The storytelling isn't bad or confusing, but it adds to the plot contrivances. It's like a buddy telling you a story but having to go back to clarify every five minutes. ("So, this and that happened, and... Oh, yeah, I forgot, this happened before it...")

The acting was mediocre. Yue Song can fight, but he has little screen presence and lacks charisma -- most of his dialogue was wooden, too. On that point, aside from the bad plot writing, the dialogue is also very cheesy and unnatural -- it just doesn't flow right. The cinematography is decent -- I like the style, but some scenes were too dark to see. I think part of the problem is Yue Song's hand in almost everything -- you'll see his name in every other credit during the introduction -- lead actor, writer, director, action director, and so on. It ends up feeling very amateurish, like a fan film that was very rapidly and sloppily put together.

Overall, I give King of the Streets the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it is a fan film, or maybe it's a spoof of the old-school martial arts films? (the dialogue is equally cheesy.) Regardless, the story is bad and severely flawed, but I was overall entertained. I really enjoyed the exciting fighting and I had a few laughs -- maybe they were unintentional, though.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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