Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Kung Pow: Enter the Fist (2002)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

Everyone’s been up late at night and seen one of those old, poorly dubbed kung fu movies where some good guy is out to get revenge on some evil guy for something. “Tiger and Crane Fists” was one such movie, originally released in the 1970’s. Then, along came Steve Odekerk, who you may know from the Thumb movies. (“Frankenthumb,” “Thumb Wars,” etc.) He got the idea to dub over the voices, add some new scenes and some CG to the old ones, and make “Kung Pow: Enter the Fist.”

If you like movies like UHF or Scary Movie, you’ll probably like this movie. It’s not so much about the plot as it is about the gags, and boy, does this movie pack them in. The basic plot, or should I say running storyline, is that an evil man by the name of Master Payne is out to find and kill The Chosen One. The movie starts with Master Payne paying a visit to a family. Payne kills the family and looks in a crib, opening the baby’s mouth. This is The Chosen One. The baby kicks and punches the crap out of Payne and manages to escape despite Payne’s best efforts.

Many years later, The Chosen One seeks refuge from constant attacks within a training camp. (I don’t know what the actual term is, so you’ll have to forgive me.) There, he meets his love interest, Ling. There’s also Wimp Lo, who was trained incorrectly as a joke and has a squeaky shoe. The Chosen One identifies himself and proves that he’s The Chosen One by sticking out his tongue. We meet Tonguey, which is a face on The Chosen One’s tongue. Meanwhile, Master Payne has taken over a nearby city and insists on being called Betty. Betty proves to be a dimwitted leader, making bad jokes and doing corny magic tricks. When The Chosen One finds out about this, the battle is on.

I should warn you that a lot of people either hated this movie or loved it. I think there are several reasons for that. First, even though the movie is only 80 minutes, the first third of the movie wasn’t that good, so I can see a lot of people watching the first 15 minutes of the movie and shutting it off in disgust. Second, there’s Ling, the love interest. She ends all of her lines with, “Wee-oh-whee” or something similar. This was odd the first time and got annoying around the third time. I think the movie could have done without it. Also, as I mentioned before, the movie relies a lot on the gags rather than any sort of plot. If you’re not into the kind of humor that the movie has, you’re out of luck.

It’s a strange movie. There are also sexual themes, but no real nudity. (There are a few scenes where Ling removes her shirt, but I don’t recall being able to see anything. There’s also a woman with one breast who speaks of a sequel to the movie.) I think the movie is safe for children and most children six and under would be amused. Most of the sexual references would seem silly or be totally lost on them.

The graphics are pretty good. The fighting cow that you may have seen in the ads and will probably see on the cover is a bit obvious. Some of it is more subtle, such as a one of Master Payne’s lackeys that carries around a boom box. If you watch the closing credits, which I recommend you do, you’ll find out that this character was not in the original footage.

The movie has a definite feel of UHF and Mystery Science Theater 3000 to it. I think that even fans of the actual kung fu movies might get a kick out of watching this movie.

No comments :