TV Series Reviews: Netflix's 'Wu Assassins' and BBC America's "Killing Eve'

April 16, 2020

WE want to review two TV series we’ve just seen, Netflix’ “Wu Assassins” and BBC America’s “Killing Eve”. “Wu” has ten episodes and stars mostly Asian actors. This is a big break for Indonesian actor, Iko Uwais, who starred in the hit Indonesian actioners “The Raid” and its sequel. 

He plays the lead role of Kai Jin, a chef in San Francisco’s Chinatown who meets a mystical spirit, Ying Ying (Celia Au), the very first Wu assassin, who then gives to him ancient powers known as Wu Xing. He doesn’t want to accept it but Ying Ying says he cannot refuse as he was chosen for having a pure heart.

His adoptive dad, Uncle Six (Byron Mann), is the leader of the Triad and wants him to work for his syndicate, but he’d rather be a chef. It turns out Uncle Six is the Fire Wu, who has the power to summon fire to kill his opponents.  In the course of his adventures, Kai will also meet the other Wu villains: the Wood Wu, the Water Wu, the Metal Wu and the Earth Wu.

He is assisted in his fight against evil by his three best friends from childhood: Jenny Wah (Li Jun Li, sexy Chinese actress), a young restaurant owner; Lu Xin (Lewis Tan, Chinese-American), a car thief, and Tommy (Lawrence Kao), Jenny’s brother who is a drug addict. Also playing big roles are American actress Katheryn Winnick as an undercover cop and Juju Chan as Uncle Six’s right hand who’s very good in hand to hand combat.

Each episode is action-packed and quickly paced. Although the storyline has some holes in it, the show features outstanding action choreography. Iko Uwais is rather short. He must be just 5’5” or 5’6”, so the 6-footer Lewis Tan easily dwarfs him. But he more than compensates for his being vertically challenged by his agility as a bone-crunching fighter. He’s also very charming on cam. It’s kinda guilty pleasure but martial arts and action aficionados will most certainly enjoy this. The special effects in the supernatural scenes are generally well done and kids will surely enjoy it.

‘KILLING Eve’ is a drama spy thriller based on a novel by Luke Jennings that’s a big hit in both the U.S. and U.K. It stars Sandra Oh (Dr. Yang of “Grey’s Anatomy”) as Eve Polastri, an investigator with the British Intelligence MI5 who’s called to look into the death of a man in Vienna. She quickly deduced that the assassin is a woman. 

This is Vilanelle who’s real name is Oksana (played by Brit actress Jodie Comer who has done other TV series but this is definitely her breakout role). Oksana is a remorseless psychopathic killer and even kids are not exempt from her evil deeds.

The boss of MI5 resents Eve’s astute observations and dismisses her, but she’s quickly hired by another group, MI6, and this is where she makes progress in finally locating, and later, meeting Vilanelle in person. 

The show is spiced up with so many sexy elements, like Vilanelle is AC-DC, shown having sex with both men and women. This is not surprising as its head writer is Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the Brit actress-writer who won the Emmy for the hit half-hour comedy show, “Fleabag”, which critics just loved but which we didn’t get to stand after a couple of episodes as its very bawdy, sex-oriented humor didn’t sit well with us. She’s even shown masturbating while watching Pres. Obama on her tablet. 

“Killing Eve” works well because it’s quite well written and defies your expectations. A lot of deep dark secrets of some characters are revealed and there are many twists as it goes along, including in the background of Vilanelle, who was recruited while imprisoned in Russia.

There were times we don’t want to watch anymore because the character of Vilanelle is so dark, has no redeeming values. She’s so ruthless and obviously has no conscience and we want her to be killed already. But we can’t just give it up as the acting is just splendid. 

Sandra Oh is great as Eve Polastri, but Jodie Comer has the flashier role.  And she effortlessly makes the most of it. The character is evil and violent, but it’s a very nuanced performance, definitely subverting the usual feminine stereotypes. 

She can be scary, but when she’s on screen, you cannot take your eyes away from her. We love even her Russian accent. She can make evil so seductive and eventually, she becomes fixated on Sandra Oh.  No wonder she has since won so many best actress awards for this role. We’re not sure if we’d still watch Season 2 but if we’d miss Jodie, we just might.