Kowloon Walled City (2021)

Ever wondered what it would look like if the Coolie from “Kung Fu Hustle” was given his own movie? “Kowloon Walled City” might be the closest the world ever gets to an answer to that question.

While nowhere near as wacky or fantastical as Stephen Chow’s magnum opus of kung foolishness, “Kowloon Walled City” is a fun, Hong Kong action-comedy that gets the job done with plenty of humor, excellent fight scenes, and a general throwback to the Hong Kong action movie glory days.



Shi Yan Neng plays the movie’s protagonist Jin A’Neng, with Lu Yang playing Feng Jia Hui and Sun Zi Jun playing Hong Jie.

Additionally, the villainous Master Hai is played by Yang Xiao Bo, while Feng’s cousin A Kun is played by Lv Yu.


After avenging the killing of his sifu by a gang leader, kung fu master Jin A’Neng travels from China to Hong Kong, venturing into the heart of the city’s crime-ridden sector known as Kowloon Walled City.

Divided into four sections with different gangs vying for power, Feng Jia Hui is determined to clean up Kowloon, and finds an ally in A’Neng after he saves her from a gang attack.

Jin ANeng gets ready for a brutal showdown

Jin ANeng gets ready for a brutal showdown

As the appointed head of the Western section of Kowloon, Feng sets about her mission. After A’Neng helps fend off a gang attack on a local brothel in the city’s Eastern section,

Feng also finds a new ally in the brothel’s madam, Ms. Hong. However, the group’s challenges only continue growing from there.


“Kowloon Walled City” is a bit on the Short Side

The biggest shortcoming working against “Kowloon Walled City” is the movie’s abbreviated runtime of 83 minutes.

While an urban kung fu crime war doesn’t necessarily beg for the same kind of epic scope and treatment of “The Wrath of Vajra”, “Kowloon Walled City” is nonetheless a bit restrained in having to tell its story and deliver on the action it promises with the compact runtime it has to work with.

An additional 10 minutes would have done the trick to flesh out the scope of the story a bit more, along with the history of Kowloon Walled City itself within the context of Hong Kong.

Though the movie briefly glosses over it in the end credits, a little more meat on the overall story, by way of being slightly longer would’ve given it an overall boost.

“Kowloon” Makes up for it with Fantastic Action

Fortunately, the short runtime of “Kowloon” is a minor vexation at worst amid the movie’s fantastic action scenes, orchestrated by Shi Yan Neng and Chen Chao.

“Kowloon” wastes no time in starting off with a bang with A’Neng taking down a gang with his fists inside of a bath house, and pulls out more than a few slow-motion close-ups of fists and feet hitting their targets to juice up the impact that much more.

Shi Yan Neng continues to be a badly underutilized talent on the Chinese/Hong Kong action scene, his wolf-like grimace an intimidating punctuation to his power and ability in his fight scenes in “Kowloon”.

“Kowloon” Has Plenty of Levity

Whilst “Kowloon” doesn’t exactly deliver jokes in spades it also has a generally much more light-hearted attitude than many will probably expect from its crime-war premise.

A’Neng might be a confident kung fu master, but he’s rougher around the edges in social situations, chewing on strips of raw ham with little concern for decorum and navigating a date Feng Jia Hui with all the awkwardness of a dweeb taking the head cheerleader to prom.

As Hong Jie, Sun Zi Jun adds her own dry humor to “Kowloon” as an adept fighter herself with as blunt a personality as Betty White.

“Kowloon Walled City” is a Hong Kong Throwback

With its stunts, fight scenes, and subtle humor, “Kowloon Walled City” could well have been a Jackie Chan movie had it been made in the mid-80’s.

“Kowloon” handles its kung fu action with a care truly becoming of Hong Kong’s Golden Age, bringing the right amount of complexity and finesse to action sequences like A’Neng battling an invading gang in Hong Jie’s brothel to give them a real polish.

A’Neng’s final showdown is a little more modern given its indulgences in wire-assisted leaps and impacts, but it’s still a satisfying blast of fury that A’Neng’s fists display whenever he’s called upon to stand up for what’s right.


The nostalgic DNA of “Kowloon Walled City” is what makes the movie a fun, endearing Hong Kong throwback.

While the impact of its short running time remains lamentable in what they chip off from the movie, what remains is an exhilarating, and captivating kung fu crime actioner that gives viewers exactly what they’re after.

The Coolie from “Kung Fu Hustle” might never get a true solo movie, but if “Kowloon Walled City” is the closest the world ever gets to that, it’s a pretty fair trade!

Favourite Quote

  • “Any more food?” –Jin A’Neng (after rescuing Feng Jia Hui from a group of attackers.)


  • “Kowloon Walled City” was released in Hong Kong on December 26th, 2021, and debuted in the U.S. on Well Go USA’s streaming platform Hi-YAH! on December 23, 2022.
  • Kowloon Walled City had once been a military, and later grew into a residential sub-section of Hong Kong during the city’s British occupation.
  • Throughout much of the 20th century, Kowloon Walled City was one of the most crime-ridden sections of Hong Kong, with many gangs constantly at war with one another.
  • Eventually, Hong Kong announced Kowloon Walled City would be destroyed in January of 1987, with its occupants being moved out and the process taking place from March of 1993 to April of 1994.
  • Kowloon Walled City Park was established in the place of Kowloon Walled City in December of 1995.
  • Director Channel Choi previously directed the movies “Tiger Killer” and “Zhang Chao”.
Kowloon Walled City movie poster

Kowloon Walled City movie poster

Film Rating: 8/10

“Kowloon Walled City” is now available to stream on Well Go USA’s martial arts streaming service, Hi-YAH!

Have you seen “Kowloon Walled City” yet? What do you expect from its premise and story? What are some of your favorite Hong Kong action movies in a period setting? Let us know in the comments below; Like, share and join in the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram!

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From the earliest days of childhood, Brad Curran was utterly fascinated by martial arts, his passion only growing stronger after spending time living in the melting pot of Asian cultures that is Hawaii. His early exposure developed into a lifelong passion and fascination with all forms of martial arts and tremendous passion for action and martial arts films. He would go on to take a number of different martial arts forms, including Shaolin Ch'uan fa, Taekwondo, Shotokan Karate and remains a devoted student, avid and eager to continue his martial arts studies. Brad is also an aspiring writer and deeply desires to share his love for martial arts and martial arts movies with the world!

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