David Carradine has donned the monks robes again for Kung Fu Killer, a two-night, four-hour mini-series on Spike, beginning on Sunday. As the Wudan monk White Crane, he combines the stoicism of Kwai Chang Caine (from his 1970s series Kung Fu) with the bloodlust of the title character he played in the Kill Bill movies.
Kung Fu Killer is set in pre-Communist 1920s China and dressed in full mysterious-East regalia: dramatically scarred former monk and slave dealer armed with whip; beautiful, deadly, possibly lesbian sidekick; barely dressed former slaves turned lakeside sirens who seduce and kill men who happen by. All this, and David Carradine playing a bamboo flute.
Badly wounded after being left for dead, Crane is rescued by Lang Han (Osric Chau), Cranes protege and the only other survivor from the massacre committed by the minions of the local crime lord, Khan Xin (Lim Kay Tong), for some vague reason that never really gets explained. After his convalescence, in a small village enslaved by Khan to grow nothing but opium, Crane makes his way to Shanghai and into a smoky night club owned by wannabe tough guy Bingo (Jimmy Taenaka).
Crane uses his unbeatable Kung Fu to save Jane Marshall (Daryl Hannah), Bingos girlfriend and star act, who is in Shanghai to look for her missing brother. Bingo challenges Crane to fight in a gambling bout, which he hosts in the same night club, and Crane comes face to face with Kahns Mongol henchman. The same man who lead Kahns army during the destruction of the Wudang temple. Crane crushes his skull, with a powerful qi focusing technique demonstrated at the beginning of the movie, which of course impresses the power obsessed Khan who offers Crane a job.
The film’s two parts go all over the damn place and it took me a bit to come to terms with the incoherence. But, I have to say that I enjoyed how odd it was and how it went all over the damn map. When the title hits DVD, it’s something that I’ll look forward to rediscovering. Otherwise, I just say catch it when Spike re-airs it. You know that they’re going to do it.