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Series / Wu Assassins

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Wu Assassins is a supernatural, martial arts, crime drama series from Netflix set In San Francisco’s Chinatown, written by John Wirth (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles; Falling Skies) who is also acting as showrunner for the series.

It stars martial artist and fight choreographer Iko Uwais (The Raid and the sequel) as Kai Jin, an aspiring chef who becomes the latest Wu Assassin, last in a line of Chosen Ones who must round up the powers of an ancient triad and restore balance once again. In the process he teams up with homicide detective Christine "C.G." Gavin (Katheryn Winnick), an undercover cop caught in the middle of a gang war that’s breaking out in Chinatown, to unravel the ancient mystery and take down supernatural assassins.

The series also stars Byron Mann as Uncle Six, Lewis Tan as Lu Xin Lee, Kai's oldest friend who runs a car theft ring for the Triad; Tommy Flanagan as Alec McCullough, an international crime boss with a mysterious interest in San Francisco’s Chinatown; JuJu Chan as the skilled assassin Zan; Mark Dacascos as a monk and Tzi Ma as Mr. Young, a kindly Chinatown grocer and a mentor to Kai.


The show premiered on August 8, 2019.

Previews: Preview Clip #1, Trailer

Wu Assassins contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: The show has loads of them.
    • Inspector C.G. Gavin is a formidable hand-to-hand fighter.
    • Jenny Wah is a restaurateur who moonlights as underground fighter.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: The show's title doesn't make it readily apparent if the titular characters are Wus who work as assassins, or people who kill Wus. The show clarifies that the Assassins' mission is to kill beings known as "Wu Warlords".
  • Archnemesis Dad: The Wu Warlod of Fire that Kai Jin must kill is his own adoptive father.
    • Actually averted. Six willingly gives up his powers and joins Jin's side against the Warlords.
  • Armed Legs: When she attacks the police station, Zan's stiletto heels have actual stilettos hidden inside that she can use to stab people in the neck.
  • Arrow Catch: In the first episode Kai Jin catches a throwing knife in mid-air before it hits Mr. Young in the head.
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  • Badass Normal: Lu Xin. He's got no powers or special training from magical monks, but he can go toe to toe with the best with or without weapons. It's only against supernatural abilities from the Wu Warlords that he can't defend against.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Played with, as the characters usually gets the stuffing beat out of them and this results in large amounts of blood... until the next scene where none of them usually has more than a few token cuts or dainty bruises. Particularly noticeable with the female characters.
  • Brought Down to Normal: All the Wu's, and Kai himself, when they are transported to the Dao in the season 1 finale. As such, both Kai and McCullough don't have their powers during their final fight.
  • The Chosen One: When the Wu Warlords appeared in Ancient China, 1,000 monks sacrificed themselves to empower a Chosen One to fight against them. This Chosen One is known as the Wu Assassin.
  • Discount Lesbians: The Metal Wu is technically a man named Gideon, in a relationship with the Water Wu, a woman. However, since he can essentially possess other people, he's currently in a female form. The Water Wu still gives him (her?) a rather intense kiss. Tommy, even though he's bleeding out, can't help but be interested.
  • Dislikes the New Guy: Inspector Gavin only just transferred to San Francisco from Bayside, and some of her new colleagues are very dismissive of her and doubt her skills.
  • Elemental Powers: Wu powers are based on the Chinese elementals: fire, earth, water, metal, and wood.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Even before receiving the Wu Assassin power, Kai is an excellent fighter.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Almost every single named character displays martial arts skills in combat, to varying degrees of proficiency.
  • Fair Cop: Inspector Gavin, the detective who goes undercover in Lu Xin's crew, is astonishingly attractive.
  • Fallen Hero: McCullough is a former Wu Assassin who became the Wood Wu.
  • Food Porn: Kai is a damn good chef, and every time he is preparing food the camera delights in closeups of the succulent dishes he is preparing.
  • Grand Theft Me: One of the powers of the Metal Wu.
  • Healing Factor: One of the powers of the Wood Wu, and the main reason why this Wu is considered the most difficult to kill.
  • Healing Hands: One of the powers of the Wood Wu. This is why McCullough decided to take this power after killing the last Wood Wu; in hopes of using it to bring his wife and son back from the death.
  • How We Got Here: The very first episode of the series shows Kai fighting a dozen mooks in an apartment building and saving Mr. Young. The episode then flashes back to "Yesterday" and shows how he got in that situation.
  • Job Title: Wu Assassins, assassins being the operative word describing a job.
  • Legacy of the Chosen: Kai Jin is only the last in a line of Chosen Ones, who receives the power of the monks in the present day to become the Wu Assassin. There have been 999 Wu Assassins before him.
  • Life Energy: Centuries ago 1,000 monk sacrificed themselves so that their life energy would empower the Wu Assassin.
  • Mob War: The SFPD is determined to prevent a organized crime war between the local Tongs and McCullough's organization that is coming from Europe to muscle in on Chinatown.
  • No Body Left Behind: After being killed, the Earth Wu's body crumbles into dust.
  • Papa Wolf: While it's hidden beneath the tough face he needs to put on as a triad leader, Uncle Six truly is concerned with Kai's well-being and it's lethally stupid for anyone to think of harming Kai in Six's territory.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Uncle Six scoffs at the idea that a woman could run the Triads.
  • Really 700 Years Old: McCullough, thanks to the powers of the Wood Wu.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Jenny Wah may be a badass Action Girl, but Zan is a professional criminal and the personal enforcer of the head of the Triad. Both times they fight Jenny gets brutally pummeled into a bloody pulp.
    • Uncle Six thinks he can fight Zan for control of the Triad, but she just shoots him in the knee with a gun and later executes him by shooting him in the head.
  • Refusal of the Call: When first bestowed with the powers of the Wu Assassin, Kai Jin objected that he was just a chef, and tried to wash his hands of the whole thing. He fails rather spectacularly.
  • Secret Identity: Played with. The powers of the Wu Assassin include a nifty trick to help maintain the real identity of the Assassin a secret: anyone who looks at Kai Jin will see the face of one of the monks whose life-force empower him. It isn't immediately clear if this is achieved through Voluntary Shapeshifting or Glamour. Despite this, within the first few episodes Kai's identity is revealed to the Wu Warlords.
  • Sequel Hook: Ying Yang shows up amidst an earthquake at the restaurant to tell Kai that the world still needs the Wu Assassin.
  • Taken for Granite: The Earth Wu has the power to do this to other people. He is seen turning his last victim to stone after supposedly letting her go, and after the deed we see several petrified bodies of his previous victims. He also tries this with Kai during their fight, but Kai's own powers allow him to counter it.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: In addition to being a Wu Warlord, Kai Jin's adoptive father is also the head of the Triads in the San Francisco Chinatown.
  • The Unfought: Kai never actually gets to fight the Metal and Water Wu's. Instead, their powers are stripped off them when they are transported to the Dao.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: The Metal Wu's powers work by taking over all the metals in the human body. Iron, Calcium, Copper etc. If a person's body is low in those elements, if they are anemic for example, it leaves his control weak and open to a counter attack.
  • Who Are You?: In the first episode Mr. Young says this when he sees Kai Jin catch a knife mid-air that was about to kill him.


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