Carradine’s hair has gotten thinner but don’t let that fool you, like Kane of the old “Kung Fu” series of 30 years ago, David still has the flute, the soft-spoken voice, all the right moves; but this time he is carrying a very big stick and you don’t want to piss him off.
The miniseries, which could easily be carried on as a weekly series if SPIKE and Carradine were willing to go for it, follows the adventures of one White Crane, the son of Western missionary parents working in China, who after their brutal murder is taken in by a Wudang Master, raised in the temple and trained in the Wudang martial arts. At some point in his young adult life he leaves the temple and wanders the world only to return in his older years where he finds corruption in the land and the overthrow of the temple and murder of its monks and his beloved Master. This sets him on the quest to find those responsible and reap vengeance on them. Beginning in the Shanghai underworld, Crane encounters Jane Marshall (Hannah) a lounge singer from Brooklyn, who is on a mission of her own to find her lost brother. Their paths remained the same as it turns out the man holding her brother is the same person behind the destruction of Crane’s temple.
Carradine is not Kane in this one. He is a beautiful mixture of Kung Fu master and Mel Gibson’s character in the film “Payback.” In other words, he opens a can of whoop-ass on all the bad guys. However, the thin line between who is good and just who are the bad guys can get a bit gray at times, including the darker aspects of his own character.
“Kung Fu Killer” was filmed entirely on location in very remote areas of China and the vistas and scenery are very inspiring to watch. David, at the age of 72, still does all his own fight scenes and he hasn’t missed a step, in fact, he is even better, more self-assured and lighter on his feet than even his younger years. Speaking of the fight scenes, they are some of the best martial arts you will ever see on TV or film. On day two there is an exquisite battle between Crane and his long-lost monk brother that turns into a literal ballet of perfect balance and harmony. Carradine is fighting a man at least 40 years younger and his rhythm, timing and movements are near perfection. It was a thing of beauty to watch.
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