Review: Despite Keen Action Delivery, FIST 2 FIST: WEAPON OF CHOICE (2014) Falls Short On Its Arsenal

If it weren't for David Van Tassell's most recent interview with actor, martial artist and filmmaker Jino Kang, I probably would have lost my ever loving mind trying to weigh in on his latest film, Fist 2 Fist: Weapon Of Choice, while thinking it was connected to its 2011 predecessor. Thus, it being a sequel in name only lifts a small burden off of my back some now that I can catch it at some point without urgency, while having screened the new movie and now with a more suited, pieceworthy opinion to espouse and share accordingly.

Indeed, the film is an award-winner and a hit with action fans and some critics who've seen it, which is understandable in a number of instances as it introduces Kang in the role of a Jack Lee, former hitman whose previous life comes back to haunt him with the kidnapping of his niece at the behest of his former employer. A series of intriguing twists arise as the story progresses, delving a bit into the truth about his relationship to his niece and the past he shares with regard to her family while Lee, with the help of Ash - a resilient detective, tackle the swarms of hitmen out to kill them while finding a way to save Jamie once and for all.

Of the things I can point out about this film in my critique, one fact worth noting is that it doesn't take long for the film to show its true colors in terms of caliber. The story has some great idea in mind suffers immensely from incoherence at times, leaving a lot to be desired in terms of empathy and motivations, leaving it up to the viewer to merely keep watching until the third act when things finally start to pick up a bit.

There's a love story that brews between Lee and Ash, the latter played by actress Katherine Celio, which instantly feels as contrived as one would expect as her character pivots from no-nonsense cop persona-to-cop who suddenly falls for the fugitive hitman she met a few days ago. At the same time, it almost feels relieving to see as much as the rest of the film sticks to its action thriller formula, accompanied with its share of phoned-in performances, a music score that tends to disengage, and albeit servicebale fight sequences that could have easily been redeemed with more angles and better lensing.

The action, in general, has its moments; actress Kelly Lou Dennis's role as the tenacious niece, Jamie, was a thrill to watch at times, with a performance written suitably for a low-budget actioner rife with shortcomings, the last of which needed a textbook damsel in distress. Hers is a tough, hard-as-nails character that takes no prisoners even as she's held as one, and thankfully to horde of bumbling goons too dumb to keep up - an asset to some of the banter we observe among our antagonists led by actors Artem Mishin, and Douglas Olsson who plays notorious crime boss and Lee's previous employer.

The film eventually rewards you with a fight finale that lives up to the film's title which adds some excitement to the experience in addition to the entertainment value of watching Kang in action. While his dramatic range stretches short of engaging, his acumen for screenfighting speaks for itself as a filmmaker and martial arts expert who understands some of the basic principles of cinematic fighting. The rest is what you can pretty much chalk up as some seriously-needed polishing in terms of cinematography and scripting, as well as a few other technical aspects.

Take all this to mind should you decide to give Fist 2 Fist: Weapon Of Choice a shot. If you can forgive the film's shortcomings, it'll be worth a viewing for those curious to see what precedes Jack Lee's upcoming possible third outing which Kang discusses in his interview with Tassell, and not for nothing either. Kang's grist as a talented filmmaker does hold its own with this movie, and for a filmmaker who could use all the help he needs to bring forth one more solid actioner out of this particular series in its potential. As for Fist 2 Fist: Weapon Of Choice, what you get for your runtime is a simple story that lives for the action it promises in all its low-budget B-movie glory, and not much else.


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