If literally translated from Chinese, the title of the movie ‘Kung Fu Jungle’ (一个人的武林) would be ‘One (Single) Person’s Wushu (Martial Arts) Jungle’. The action film tells the tale of how a wushu expert crazed with being the absolute number one of all number ones seeks to challenge the best of the best in various specialised fields of fighting, such as fist-fighting and sword-fighting. Missing the point of the marital arts supposedly for noble purposes, as a means of disciplining the mind through the body, and for righteously and selflessly protecting the weak and helpless, he sees these arts as ultimately meant for killing instead, with it being the only way to assert victory for his ego.
Like one of those powerful pugilistic villains featured in Kung Fu flicks of old, he is a modern take on the obsession for domination of the Wushu Jungle. And yes, it’s a jungle out there, so long as there are folks like him wrecking havoc, preying upon reluctant competitors, catching them by surprise to fight a duel to the end. Like an asura boiling with great jealousy and insecurity, incapable of peaceable and respectful co-existence with others, he falls victim to his greed for status and hatred for those he has yet to defeat, even if they never meant him any harm at all. But what if he does become the indisputable king of the jungle? It becomes just one person’s jungle, with no more challenges he lives for!
And what about the other non-Chinese forms of martial arts? Is he a king of those other ‘jungles’? Is it not a never-ending quest to oufight others? Even if he does become the king of all martial arts, how long would his worldly title last, before he dies? If he is never forgotten, what would he be remembered for? His noble virtues or savage ways? Is it worth it? There is too much of precious relationships and ‘things’ of value, such as peace of mind to relinquish, to forsake them all to make it just ‘one single person’s Wushu jungle’. It’s bleak and lonely at the top. Why not celebrate harmony in diversity with friendly matches for the betterment of all? Alas! In the last seconds of a final battle, he loses… to the gun of a policewoman who does not know martial arts!