Starring: Steve Oedekirk, Fei Lung, Ling Ling Tse, and Jennifer Tung
Run Time: 1 hr. 21 mins.
Plot Synopsis: Kung Pow! Enter the Fist is a movie within a movie, created to spoof the martial arts genre. Writer/director Steve Oedekerk uses contemporary characters and splices them into a 1970s kung-fu film, weaving the new and old together. As the main character, The Chosen One, Oedekerk sets off to avenge the deaths of his parents at the hands of kung-fu legend Master Pain. Along the way, he encounters some strange characters and fights in some epic battles.
While many of you may not immediately recognize the name Steve Oedekerk, most of you have seen some of his work. Oedekerk is a writer/producer/director who has been involved in the creative process for films like Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Patch Adams, and Bruce Almighty. If you have children, it’s a safe bet they’ve watched some of the children’s cartoons he is involved with, like Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, and Back at the Barnyard. He has had a very successful career. Out of everything he has been involved in, I believe Kung Pow is his finest work.
The movie is essentially a spoof of 70’s kung fu movies, done before all of the crap spoof movies that we’ve been subjected to. The film, as was suggested in the plot synopsis, is a mix up of scenes taken directly from a kung fu film of that era, and live action original sequences shot directly for the movie. It is brilliant. The scenes transition smoothly and seamlessly. The difference between the scenes from the old film and the new scenes shot just for Kung Pow lies only in the color and film quality. Remember that the film Oedekirk used is from the 70’s, so there is a difference in picture quality. That said, the film tends to do a good job of matching up the looks of the original with the shots he filmed specifically for Kung Pow. It really is amazing. As it features many sequences from a kung fu film, Kung Pow is also filled with numerous martial arts fighting sequences. And the vast majority of them are un-edited.
Oedekirk plays the main character, The Chosen One. His parents were killed when he was just an infant, and his parents killers attempted to kill him too, leading to a hilarious fight sequence. As a grown “warrior,” he travels the lands in search of his parents killers in an attempt at revenge. He finds a kung fu master who offers to train him before his ultimate showdown with Master Betty (the villain) Kung Pow is filled with great characters. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that some of the characters you will find in this film include: A kung fu master who likes to call himself Betty, a brain dead martial arts trainee named wimp-lo, a fighting cow, a new born with some serious martial arts skills, and a chick with just one big boob in the middle of her chest. While Oedekirk is the only actor added in to the scenes throughout most of the movie, Kung Pow develops the characters through their dialogue, and it is done well.
The Chosen One’s fighting techniques are a great source of humor. Along the way, he displayed the power to punch a hole through a guy with one punch, the ability to call on his animal friends and use them as a weapon (gopher-chucks, his version of nun chucks) a “gopher style” combat technique, and heightened senses. The villain, on the other hand, displays a very different fighting technique, although his style is also a good source of humor. Master Betty uses a metal hand that is connected to a long chain. The hand has razor sharp claws and he uses this to latch on to his victims, which can be very funny. The best part, is that Betty brings with him a servant whose only job is to carry around a large boombox to play “Baby Got Back” every time he enters battle.
As for the movie, it is filled with witty jokes AND sight gags. Kung Pow is a movie that does not take itself seriously, and from the very beginning they establish what the film will be like through to the end. One of the funniest aspects of the film is the dialogue. Since a majority of the film is taken from a previous one, Oedekirk dubs all of the voices over the footage for all of the characters. The way they speak, the things they say, provide the bulk of the humor. It almost always matches what the original actors are doing in the original film. For instance, if the actor in the original film is coughing, Oedekirk finds a way to incorporate that into his voice work, but in a very funny way. At times, Oedekirk even goes out of his way to make the dialogue appear as it does in the old Godzilla movies that are dubbed in English. The lines are intentionally out of sync with the actors mouth movements. In addition to the vocal humor and sight gags, there is plenty of quick and unexpected jokes that catch you off guard. You never know where it is going to go, what joke is coming. It’s unpredictable, and that is one of the movies strong points.
This film is silly. I like to call it “blissfully retarded.” It is full of the type of jokes that make you laugh because you just can’t believe it is happening. It is so ridiculous, that it is hilarious. From top to bottom, beginning to end, this movie is a riot. A true spoof film; one that is not filled with ridiculous pop culture references and vulgarity. It is odd and out there. On it’s originality alone, it must be appreciated, even if you do not like it. It was very well done, even the intentionally bad dialogue dubbed out of sync with the film. It is refreshing to watch a film that is funny in a dumb way, and they readily admit it and embrace it. Kung Pow does not try to be something that it is not.
On the DVD special edition copy that I have, the laughs even start at the DVD start menu. I suggest you watch the menu entrance sequence all the way through, as it is good for a couple of laughs. The opening sequence of the film, the opening credits; all the way to the end credits, the jokes keep flying at you. I’m not going to lie to you, the ending is so far out there, even I thought it was odd. But it is funny despite it’s bizarreness. Make sure you watch through the end credits, as they feature some of the better out takes that are included under the special features menu. Also, it shows a cool little glimpse into how Oedekirk dubbed himself onto the film. Very cool. You will get a kick out of seeing this movie if you are any one of the following: a spoof film fan, a kung fu fan, a fan of silly comedies, and a fan of comedy in general.
The DVD comes with plenty of special features that warrant a buy situation. The special features are great. Pick this one up! It was beautifully done, blissfully retarded, and purely hilarious. Kung Pow! Enter the Fist does not fail in any way.