Netflix is in a bit of bind these days. It’s not getting as many new subscribers as it used to, it’s got a bucket-load of debt and this year, it’s failed to come up with any top-notch new TV shows, with Russian Doll the only one seeing any real break-out success.
This wouldn’t be as big a problem were it not for the arrival of new streaming services from Disney and Warner Bros, which are stripping Netflix of its existing content and halting previous production deals. The most notable results of this so far are the cancellations of various Marvel superhero shows: Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Punisher. These were among Netflix’s biggest initial draws and in their own ways, solidified Netflix’s ‘quality’ branding in the same vein as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.
So what’s Netflix to do to produce new content, stave off the competition and bring in new subscribers? Well, in the case of filling the hole left by Iron Fist, at least, it’s to come up with its own version: Wu Assassins.
Woke Iron Fist
Now, Iron Fist faced a lot of criticism – mainly from delusional haters, oh yes – on various grounds: its lead character was a billionaire white boy who went around lecturing Asians on the martial arts; its fight scenes weren’t very good; and its plot wasn’t very inspiring.
So Wu Assassins feels like Netflix learning its lessons from Iron Fist’s mistakes in wokeness. For starters, it stars one of the world’s best martial arts stars: The Raid’s Iko Uwais, who plays a half-Chinese, half-Indonesian immigrant to the US, whose father died on the journey over to San Francisco. Adopted by gangster ‘Uncle Six’ (Byron Mann), Uwais grows up to become… a lowly cook. Just like Steven Seagal. Because he’s got inexplicably good Indonesian fight moves for a cook.
All the same, his life seems perfectly normal until he’s chosen by spirit girl Celia Au (Lodge 49) to receive a magically endowed dragon’s chi tortoise shell to become the latest – and last – in a long line of immortal Iron Fists ‘Wu Assassins’. They’re pledged to protect the world from the Handfive Wu – evil elementals each with their own powers and followers, who could throw the Dao out of alignment and destroy the world.
To help him do this, she endows him with the powers and abilities of the Iron Fist1,000 monks, who gave their lives to stop the Wu. And only he can defeat this underground conspiracy… while dealing with all the issues brought about by his pseudo-father Harold Meachum Uncle Six and childhood friends Ward and Joy Meachum Jenny, Tommy and Lu Xin – with a bit of help from Colleen Wing Christine “CG” Gavin (Vikings‘ Katheryn Winnick), a woman who may not be what she seems
Will Uwais embrace the way of the Wu Assassin and stop the Wu? How many of his family and friends will be killed along the way? And will he prefer looking like himself of Mark Dacascos more?
The clue is in the title. Here are the details and you can read more about the play from when it was TMINE’s Wednesday Play
Sunday September 8
1984 (1954) + Q&A
BBFC Advice: Contains mild scenes of torture. Film Information Running Time: 1hr 47mins BBFC Advice: PG Location: Tyneside Cinema
This screening will be followed by a Q&A with Dr Elsa Bouet, Lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University and expert in George Orwell and Dystopian Fiction, and journalist David Ryan, author of George Orwell on Screen.
In a future authoritarian state, Winston Smith rebels by beginning an illicit love affair and plotting revolution.
Nigel Kneale’s adaptation of George Orwell’s most celebrated novel was one of the most controversial television programmes of its time, and marks a key transitional moment in the development of television drama in Britain.
Orwell’s warning of a totalitarian future – with one eye on the Soviet present – was just six years old when Kneale and producer Rudolph Cartier (in modern terms, the director) enacted it for the small screen, and audiences and critics were unprepared for the brutality endured by its hapless hero, Winston Smith.
Like all TV drama of the time, 1984 was broadcast live, but it made unusually extensive and imaginative use of filmed inserts – 14 in total. These sequences bought time for the more elaborate costume changes or scene set-ups, but also served to ‘open out’ the action – showing us both the desolate ‘prole sector’ and the apparently idyllic woods where Winston (Peter Cushing) and Julia (Yvonne Mitchell) have their first illicit meeting – while speeding up the drama by reducing the average shot length.
Don’t think TMINE is ignoring you, Southbank Centre. You may not have your own Events category here yet, but you soon will at this rate, because you’ve got yourself another TV event, this time in September.
Richard Ayoade: Ayoade on Top
Date: Thursday September 5 Timings: 7.30pm-9pm Venue: Royal Festive Hall
In a London exclusive, the writer and director reflects on his award-winning films, comedy and perhaps the best cabin crew dramedy ever filmed in conversation with Adam Buxton.
Ayoade first burst onto our screens as the character of Dean Learner in Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and Maurice Moss in the Emmy Award-winning The IT Crowd, for which he was awarded a BAFTA as Best Performance in a Comedy.
In addition to directing and co-writing Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, he has adapted and directed Joe Dunthorne’s novel Submarine for the screen, and is the co-writer (with Avi Korine) and director of film The Double, starring Jesse Eisenberg.
Hear from Ayoade as he reflects on making comedy and films, and argues for the canonisation of View From the Top, starring Gwyneth Paltrow, as a cinematic masterpiece.
Drawing on his latest book, Ayoade on Top, the author takes us on a journey from Peckham to Paris by way of Nevada and other places we don’t care about.
Along the way we encounter unforgettable and forgettable characters, descend into madness and ascend to the sublime summit of a film that celebrates capitalism in all its victimless glory.