Coweb (2009) aka Zhang wu shuang imdb Fantasia
Directed by Xin Xin Xiong
Written by Wing-Sun Chan
Coweb is probably short for Combat Web. The idea of the film is that a female bodyguard has her boss kidnapped by a gang who run an underground fighting web-site. In order to rescue her boss, the bodyguard must fight her way through the gang's martial artists - all while her fights are being secretly taped, streamed over the web and bet on.
The film aspires to be the kung fu version of The Truman Show, even name-checking that film and it is a neat idea, but horribly executed. The only reason to see this film is its star, Jiang Lu Xia. Coweb's reality web story probably owes something to Jiang who was discovered doing stunts and karate on online videos before becoming a part of Jackie Chan's reality TV series The Disciple.
Jiang has her limits. If she has a sense of humour, it is impossible to detect - at least in this film. She only has three gears to her acting and fighting, neutral, pissed off and REALLY pissed off.
Despite these limits, wind her up and she is a whirling ball of action fury, impossible to ignore. She manages to combine Jackie Chan's athleticism and ability to squeeze over and through obstacles with Bruce Lee's unstoppable fury. Of course, both Jackie and Btuce had other gears. Jiang just has the one and this may limit her career, but in full fury she is something to see.
Jiang is about five foot nothing, but it seems like she has six feet worth of legs. She has an astonishing ability to turn her legs into a multi-jointed weapon like a living three-sectioned staff allowing her to hit opponents with full force from the most impossible angles. She also has some interesting submission moves to add to her acrobatics and kicking.
But her most impressive quality is her sheer confidence, best demonstrated in a sequence where she has to cross a bridge and a horde of enemy bad guys pour onto the bridge to stop her. For the audience, there is a moment of doubt and then in a flash you realize that Jiang isn't outnumbered thirty to one, the bad guys are outnumbered one to thirty.
It's not like any movie martial artist loses that fight, but few would do what Jiang does ("You just put your head down and charge like a bull," one of her other opponents marvels later.) and fewer still would be as believeable while doing it. Jiang Lu Xia is something to see, her film Coweb, not so much.
"Don't Blame CANADA, Blame Yourselves!"
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