Thursday, March 10, 2022

Punch In For Kung Fu Season 2 on Warner TV (Premieres 10 March 2022)

Mention the “Kung Fu" series to Gen X-ers, and they will immediately remember the 1970's show which starred David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine, a half-Chinese Shaolin monk who was framed for murder, and came to America to search for his family. It is well known that martial arts legend Bruce Lee was passed over for the main role, and it has been argued that this was due to his accent, which the audience may find difficulty understanding. It just goes to show the level of discrimination Asian and Asian-American actors face, trying to get visibility in tinseltown. The original series has also been criticized for its prominent white-washing and propagating of Asian stereotypes.

With the rebooted, reimagining of the series that premiered in 2021, the creators Christina M. Kim, Martin Gero, Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Robert Berens and Warner Bros TV hope to right some of the wrongs regarding Hollywood's ‘bamboo ceiling’. In this new gender-bent version set in modern times, Olivia Liang as Nicky Shen, a young Chinese American woman who ran away from her university studies and ended up learning Shaolin kungfu at a monastery in China.

The first season of KUNG FU follows Nicky's homecoming in San Francisco, to find that her parents owes the mob money due to the family's failing restaurant business. A dangerous Triad has now taken hold of her home district, and is overrun with crime and corruption. While trying to solve the mystery of her sifu's death, Nicky also makes it her mission to disentangle her family from the mobsters and use her kung fu skills to fight for justice.

Season 2 of KUNG FU premieres today (10 March 2022) on Warner TV. There is more battles ahead for Nicky, as the family reunites with a long-lost cousin named Mia (Vanessa Yao). What has Mia got to do with the Russell Tan (Kee Chan), the current season's Big Bad?

If you have yet to get on board with the show, it is still not too late to start. Red Dot Diva gives you the five reasons why you should watch KUNG FU:


It was a glorious day when Red Dot Diva read the news that local actor Tan Kheng Hua had scored the spot in the main cast of KUNG FU as Chen Mei-Li, Nicky's mother. Yayyyy!! SG Represent!! It is wonderful to watch the veteran thespian shine on screen and be able to reach out to a wider international audience.

Tan's formidable acting skills gives a consistently strong performance as Mei-Li, who is not a stereotypical Asian tiger mom. Mei-Li carries generational trauma of her own, and it was later revealed that she came from a family that has ties to some mystical powers, which has been passed on to Nicky.

In every episode, Tan gives a layered and nuanced performances as a loving but reticent parent, who is also attempting to reconnect with an estranged daughter whom she thought was missing for years. Her scenes with Tzi Ma, as her screen husband Jin Shen, provide extraordinary depth and warmth to the dynamics of the Shen Family.

As a Red Dot Islander, if you only need ONE reason to watch KUNG FU, this is it. But really, there are many more reasons to watch the show. Read on...


Seriously, just look at the gorgeous Asian cast of the show!

It is about time a regular network series about Chinese martial arts lands a predominantly Asian/ Asian American cast. The younger cast members who form the Shen siblings are absolutely charming and have great chemistry with each other. Olivia Liang carries the show as the main protagonist Nicky with such ferocious conviction that Red Dot Diva was sold right from the start. She made Nicky's personal journey so relatable and heartfelt. Shannon Dang lights up the room as bubbly, elder fashionista sister Althea Chen. At first impression, you might think Althea is a bimbo, but she is actually a tech whiz. Jon Prasida is mostly level-headed brother Ricky Shen, a premed student who operates a free clinic. Ricky is also openly gay and struggled with not knowing if his parents have truly accepted his sexual orientation.

Then, there is handsome, hearthtrob Eddie Liu as Henry Yan as Nicky's love interest and the thirst trap of the aunties at San Francisco's Chinatown Community Center. Henry has the brain and the brawn. He is not only a martial arts (taichi) instructor, he is also a Chinese art history and mythology expert as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner. Now, if Red Dot Diva had a TCM doctor like Henry Yan, she would have a fever every other week. Especially after one particular shirtless scene in an episode in Season 1. Mmmm mmmm...


The fight scenes in KUNG FU may not be as bloody and violent as other martial arts shows, like Into The Badlands or Warrior, but the action still manages to pull the punches very stylishly.

Right from the first episode of Season 1, there are two exciting fight scenes which are superbly choreographed. Look out for the scene where Nicky (Olivia Liang) beats up a couple of thugs in a badass way, together with the help of Henry (Eddie Liu). Then, there is the other impressive segment between Nicky's sifu Pei Ling (Vanessa Kai) and Zhilan (Yvonne Chapman), that brings to mind the fight scenes in those retro Shaolin martial arts movies by Shaw Brothers.

Throughout the series, the good and the bad clash in more ways than one, with action scenes aplenty, which brings Red Dot Diva to the next point...


Zhilan (Yvonne Chapman) is the main villain of the show. She may be in prison yellow at the start of KUNG FU Season 2, but throughout its first season, Zhilan kicked vicious butt as an assassin looking like this (see below). Wowza!

Red Dot Diva does not want to give new viewers spoilers as to who Zhilan really is in the show, but she can say that the surprise is revealed in Season 1 episode 2 entitled ‘Silence’. Zhilan is extremely vile and cunning, and being attractive is just one of her dangers. She is usually one step ahead of Nicky, but her backstory also makes her human. You might end up empathizing with her too. Or, perhaps, Zhilan is too far gone and beyond redemption? That is one of the things Red Dot Diva is eager to find out in Season 2.


Even though KUNG FU is set in the modern world, there is an overarching mystery concerning an energy force called ‘Bian Ge’ and 8 mystical weapons, including a powerful sword that Pei ling have been hiding and protecting. When someone owns all of the items, they will unlock and gain access to magical powers. Hence, an urgent scavenger hunt to track all these weapons begins.

With head of a syndicate called Russell Tan coming into play in Season 2, Red Dot Diva is pretty sure the bad guys are not going to stop pursuing for a way to gain control of the mystical force. It is going to be all out war between Team Nicky and Team Russell this season!

KUNG FU is such an enjoyable, watchable series because it depicts Chinese Asian culture with a high level of accuracy. As it continues to break barriers for Asian representation in popular culture, Red Dot Diva hopes it will get renewed for more seasons to come!

Meanwhile, local viewers can tune in to Warner TV (StarHub TV: channel 515, or Singtel TV: channel 306) on Thursdays at 9:50 PM SGT, to catch KUNG FU Season 2.

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