Friday, September 28, 2012

Kung Pow: Enter the Fist (2002)

Kung Pow: Enter the Fist (2002)
Kung Pow: Enter the Fist is a parody of Hong Kong Kung Fu movies. What makes Kung Pow unique is that director, writer, and lead actor Steve Oedekerk actually took an old Hong Kong martial arts movie (1976's The Savage Killers aka Tiger and Crane Fist) and edited himself along with some new effects into this other film. Although a few of the CGI special effects are dated ten years later, you can tell that a lot of effort went into putting Oedekerk into the old movie and that there is clearly a love of the source material here while also having some fun with it.
I found the humor to be hit or miss though usually when I did find something funny I laughed pretty hard. I liked the subtle humor ("that's a lot of nuts!", Taco bell and Pringles logos in the background, "THIS IS CNN!", etc.) a lot better than the more obvious jokes such as the Kung Fu cow or the tongue with a face that didn't make me laugh at all.
The "bullet time" parody is dated not because it is a reference to The Matrix, but that for years following that movie everybody and their mother parodied the bullet time scene and the joke became played out. I'm not blaming the makers of this movie for putting that in there as it worked perfectly with what Kung Pow was trying to do, but it took me back to when it was almost mandatory to parody that scene.

Although Oedekirk hasn't acted or directed much since Kung Pow, he has kept busy on the writing side of filmmaking with recent credits such as Evan Almighty and Cowboys & Aliens. Oedekirk was nominated for an Oscar for best animated feature for Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius which he co-wrote and produced. Oedekirk has writing credits for a lot of well known movies from The Nutty Professor to Bruce Almighty and is also known for his Thumbs! comedy series which parodied famous films.
When it comes to parodies of Asian  martial arts movies I prefer the recent web series "Ninja the Mission Force" which I hope gets another season. "Ninja the Mission Force" took a different approach from Kung Pow as instead of putting a guy into a preexisting film, it re-used old footage and claimed that it took place in the same continuity with new scenes, much in the way these Hong Kong cut and paste movies did like Ninja Terminator with hilarious results!
I liked Kung Pow but at this point it seems doubtful we'll get the sequel promised at the end!

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