Universal has announced that they will bring in Hobbs & Shaw director David Leitch to captain the rebooted ship that is Kung-Fu. On a purely action basis Leitch seems like a no-brainer. With a resume that includes John Wick, Atomic Blonde, and Deadpool 2 in addition to the aforementioned Fast & Furious spin-off Leitch has proven consistency and proficiency in the genre to say the least. As far as I can tell there are really only two issues with this news. Well, one issue and one thing that I’m surprised didn’t happen.
- Kung-Fu, while action oriented, was more of a philosophical story. One of the main points was that Kwai would only resort to violence when absolutely necessary. John Wick, he was not. A GOOD reboot of the series HAS to be heavily involved in eastern philosophy. It would be easy to make an action heavy story about a martial artist walking the land. What would be amazing though, is to make that same story and highlight the beauty of the mindset that accompanies those high-flying kicks. Leitch has been able to add subtext to his films, but not to an especially deep level. His ability to do this will be what decides if this is going to be a throw-away rehash or the start of something altogether new.
- Leitch is a white dude. Now there’s nothing wrong with that by itself, but when you factor in the diversity movement in full swing AND the story behind the making of the original series makes me think this was a softball swing to get a good Asian director at the help. For those who don’t know the show was the brainchild of Bruce Lee, Lee was ditched as the lead in favor of Keith Carradine because producers didn’t think audiences wanted to see an Asian actor in a leading role. While I think race shouldn’t come into the choice in most cases, in this particular one it seems like a good chance to right a historic wrong.