Coweb (HK 2009)

Rating: **
Alternate Title: "Ninja Masters" (US release)
Review Date: 7/17/11
Director: Xin Xin Xiong
Cast: Jiang Lu Xia, Kane Kosugi

Disappointing. Femme fighter Jiang Lu Xia becomes a bodyguard for a crime boss's wife, and when her client gets kidnapped, she goes on a rampage to rescue her. Unfortunately, she doesn't realize that it's just a set-up for an underground fighting competition where she is the main star. For the most part, the action scenes are well staged, but overpowering sound design and invasive wire work kill the suspension of disbelief. Floaty aerial acrobatics don't belong in contemporary action films like this. Jiang Lu Xia is an excellent leg fighter and bristles with stoic rage and intensity, but she lacks personality and charisma. Kane Kosugi turns out to be the real star of the film, and he gives an excellent performance. I'm surprised he's not a bigger star, since he has both the acting skills and fighting chops to make it big. His showdown with Jiang is superb, and they wisely keep it ground based. Sadly, the film never seems to gel and even though the fight scenes are entertaining, they lack a certain vitality. Either that, or I'm just getting too jaded and demanding with my martial arts films these days.