A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Wu Assassins is a martial arts-based action show about criminals operating in San Francisco's Chinatown. Each episode features extended fight scenes, some of which involve knives and gunplay, and there are numerous scenes of people getting burned alive. Most of the action is stylized and not realistic, and the show uses dated special effects on purpose, which further add to the pulpy feeling, but there's a lot of violence nonetheless. There's no sexual content, but profanity includes "s--t" and "f--k." There's also frequent drinking, and some heavy drug use.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Kai Jin (Iko Uwais) is a talented chef who is given the power of the Wu Assassins, an ancient line of fighters with supernatural strength and agility whose mission is to kill the five Wu Warlords, dangerous beings with similarly supernatural powers. For Kai Jin, that means immersing himself in the criminal underground in Chinatown, where his adoptive father Uncle Six (Byron Mann) runs the local gang of Chinese Triads.
Is it any good?
Netflix has already had some success with the immaculate action scenes of their 2018 film The Night Comes for Us, so extending the model to an episodic series is the next logical step -- However, it doesn't sustain the level of quality. Netflix dipping its toes into the world of martial arts programming does make perfect sense: It's flashy, inexpensive to make, and infinitely watchable. However, Wu Assassins' fight sequences mostly feel rote, and neither the writing nor the acting does anything to help the action out. As always, the key to great action is having characters to invest in, and neither Uwais or any of the rest of the large supporting ensemble are compelling enough to elevate the fights to anything more than a clamor.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Chinatown. How does Wu Assassins' portrayal of San Francisco's Chinatown compare to other portrayals of Chinese Americans? Do you think the depiction is accurate or exaggerated?
Why do you think people enjoy action shows and movies? What kinds of skills do actors need to perform in martial arts movies?
What are the differences between actual family and criminal family on Wu Assassins? How do the two overlap and affect one another? Does the show make it seem like one is better than the other?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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