This New Netflix Show Is Basically A Love Letter To Martial Arts


If you're looking to spice up your summer but are more into watching TV in bed than, well, actually being outdoors, the Wu Assassins cast is here to help. Led by an impressive group of actors with backgrounds in stunt choreography and martial arts, the Netflix series promises a full season of butt-kicking adventures. It follows Kai Jin, a young Chinatown chef in present day San Francisco, as he becomes entangled with the Chinese Triad’s pursuit of deadly ancient powers known as the "Wu Xing." After an encounter with a mystical spirit, Kai reluctantly becomes the Wu Assassin, using his enhanced martial arts skills to recover supernatural powers from five modern day criminals threatening to destroy the world.

Anchoring the cast as Kai Jin is Indonesian martial artist and stuntman Iko Uwais. Uwais is best known for starring in The Raid, a kinetic, heart-pounding martial arts film. According to Men's Health he's a skilled practitioner of silat, an Indonesian martial art that tends to focus on strikes, joint manipulation, weaponry, or some combination of the three. Uwais' own grandfather is a respected silat master, and founded the Silat Tiga Berantai school in Jakarta. With Kai Jin housing the spirit of an ancient monk, it appears we'll see plenty of Uwais' fighting chops on display.

Facing off against Kai Jin is Uncle Six, the leader of the Chinese Traid, who has supernatural abilities of his own. The kicker? He's also Kai Jin's father. Uncle Six will be played by Byron Mann, a Hong Kong-American actor who you may recognize as Ryu from the 1994 cult hit Street Fighter. He's also had recurring roles on Arrow, Altered Carbon, and Hell on Wheels.

Unlike Uwais, Mann's fighting background is a bit more unconventional. He actually didn't start learning martial arts until he was cast in Street Fighter; he told Post Magazine in 2013 that he comes from a tennis family, and that's why he had the agility and flexibility to learn martial arts quickly.


Celia Au, who portrays Alice Ba in Lodge 49, is playing Kai Jin's helper Ying Ying. Despite being one of the most supernatural characters on the show, Au's martial arts will still come into play as Ying Ying helps to train Kai Jin in how to use his powers. According to an interview Au did with The Tru Lodge, she grew up training in Chinese kung fu at Tak Wah Eng Studio in New York City.

Based on the trailer, the next major player in this tale appears to be Lu Xin Lee, a Triad leader who owns a custom garage and runs a car theft ring for the Triad. He'll be played by Lewis Tan, who, like Uwais, was raised in a family of stunt coordinators and martial artists, per his IMDb bio. You may have spotted Tan in minor roles in Netflix's Iron Fist and Deadpool 2 before he landed the role of highly skilled fighter Gaius Chau in Into the Badlands.


"My father was a national champion martial artist who competed in many different styles. He taught me from a young age how to fight; it was our bonding time," Tan told Hapa Magazine.

Filling out the cast is Tzi Ma, Katheryn Winnick, Lawrence Kao, and Li Jun Li. All in all, the casting shows that Wu Assassins is likely to be a love letter to the art of martial arts.