The Chinese martial arts film “Fistful of Vengeance,” directed by Roel Reiné, sends Wu Assassin Kai (Iko Uwais) and his friends Lu Xin (Lewis Tan) and Tommy (Lawrence Kao) on a mission to stop Pan Gu from reforming and destroying the Earth in order to shape it in his own image. According to Chinese mythology, Pan Gu is the first man who created the universe, Earth, and the seas, and became a God, only to turn mad with power.
‘Fistful of Vengeance’ Plot Summary
A clue recovered after the death of Tommy’s (Lawrence Kao’s) sister Jenny, led him, along with Kai (Iko Uwais) and Lu Xin (Lewis Tan), to Bangkok. There they are contacted by Dr. William Pan (Jason Tobin), a biotech billionaire. He tells the trio about Pan Gu, the first man who made the universe, heaven, Earth, and the seas.
According to Pan, Pan Gu went mad with power after becoming a God and threatened to remake the world in his own image. But the Dao, the very source that powers a “Wu Assassin” (in this case, Kai), created the first Wu Assassin to destroy Pan Gu. Yin (chaos) and Yang (order) are the two halves of Pang Gu.
While Pan is Yang’s vessel (apparently the last), Ku An Qi (queen of the Bangkok underworld) is Yin’s. According to Pan, Qi is building her power to unleash chaos on the world. She has been to China, Ireland, and most recently, San Francisco to kill Kai and absorb his energy (Chi) too. It was Jenny who intervened and died in the process.
However, Jenny was able to take a piece of a talisman that belonged to Qi, which Tommy now has in his possession. The other half is with Pan Gu, and together the two pieces form the essence that they share. Pan wants the three to bring Qi to her so that he can restore balance to the world.
With help from Tommy’s friend Preeya, Tommy, Kai, and Lu Xin arrive at the hotel where Qi is holding a meeting with the Triads. Unfortunately, upon making their way in, they find that Qi has killed the bosses. After a tiresome battle with Qi’s minions, the three, along with Preeya and Interpol officer Zama (a former associate and love interest of Lu Xin), escape to Preeya’s former home situated by the river. There, her uncle Chatree, who is the local shaman, tells them that William Pan lied to them and that he has been working with Qi all along. They plan to raise Pan Gu and create a new world in their own image. All are safe in the magical village until Qi and William manipulate Preeya, who lets their army into the village.
While Kai, Lu Xin, Tommy, and Zama fight the army, Preeya manages to steal the talisman’s halve from Tommy, thus making it possible for Pan and Qi to reform as Pan Gu. However, they still need Kai’s Chi (his energy), who knows it and yet decides to stop them despite the danger.
Tommy figures out that Pan’s archeological site is the very place where the first Wu Assassin split Pan Gu. It is from this very spot that Pan and Qi will reform their God, Pan Gu again. All four head to the dig site, and another battle follows. They manage to kill Qi, but unfortunately, Pan steals Kai’s Chi and is able to combine the talisman’s two halves and reform as Pan Gu. Using his powers, he turns Lu Xin on Kai, forcing Kai to fight his best friend. But Kai’s Dao and prowess allow him to bring Xin back to his senses and defeat Pan Gu once and for all and send him to hell. As they celebrate their win and friendship while relaxing on a Thai beach, Kai mentions that his next target is a necromancer.
‘Fistful of Vengeance’ Ending Explained
Kai defeats Pan Gu and apparently sends him back to hell, or the underworld. But the talisman is still there in William’s neck (Pan Gu turns to William after losing all his power). So there is a chance that he might rise again. Alternatively, it can also be that Kai’s next mission to fight a necromancer will bring him face-to-face with another more powerful Jiangshi, a Chi vampire, which is, in a way, related to necromancy.
At the very beginning of “Fistful of Vengeance,” Tommy reveals that a piece of the talisman was what led them to the Bangkok hotel, wherein we see Kai and Lu Xin fight a Jiangshi. So the talisman, Pan Gu, and Jiangshis are related, or so it seems. But for more, we have to wait for the next Wu Assassin film to find out more.
“Fistful of Vengeance” fails to impress, despite a lot of potential. The stellar cast of Iko Uwais and Lewis Tan, who are no less than Martial Arts cinema legends today, have their talent completely wasted. The action sequences are dragging and non-visceral, and even the moves are out of place. This is something that is not expected at all in a film that relies on action and has such great martial artists. It is this that makes the action boring after a certain period of time, despite the film being an hour and 30 minutes approx.
Martial arts have a rhythm to them, and multiple cuts in a one-on-one fight ruin the rhythm. This bad editing is what also took its toll on the film. The final fight with the villain, who is basically a god, is also poorly represented (it takes place underground, of all viable places). Inability to portray a good story, which is the very heart of “Fistful of Vengeance,” makes the film a one-time watch, and that too, only for Iko Uwais and Lewis Tan, if at all.
“Fistful of Vengeance” is a 2022 action thriller film directed by Roel Reiné.