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:: Kung Pow: Enter The Fist

“Kung Pow- Enter The Fist” is possibly the strangest film I have ever seen. It has been a couple of days now since I saw it and I still couldn’t make up my mind what the hell I thought about it. I hesitate to completely write off it off at the outset because there is something just so bizarre and nonsensical about it that it might one day turn into a bit of a cult film. The premise for the film sounds like something you heard in film school when one of your fellow students hadn’t shot any footage yet and deadline day was rapidly approaching. Steve Oederkerk, writer, director, producer and star of Kung Pow bought the rights to a 1970’s Hong Kong martial arts film called “Tiger and Krane Fists” and deciding against releasing it, cut it up in the editing suite. He then rewrote the entire story, digitally rendered himself into the picture, redubbed every character including the new characters and himself with his own voice and shot additional sequences starring himself and body doubles to give the whole thing some semblance of a narrative structure. Oh and did I mention adding a large single-breasted wonder woman type character? No, I don’t think I did.

The plot of the film goes something like this, Steve Oederkerk’s character the Chosen One has a nemesis called Master Pain (Lung Fai). Master Pain killed the entire Chosen One’s family when he was a small child and incidentally about five minutes into the film changes his name to Betty. The Chosen One is the chosen one as he has a small creature inhabiting his tongue imaginatively called Tonguey, who makes a very irritating noise each time The Chosen one opens his mouth. The Chosen One spends his life training for the moment he can find Master Pain and defeat him. Just as Master Tang (Chen Hui Lou), a renowned teacher allows The Chosen One to train with him and his students, Master Pain arrives in town looking for trouble. The rest of the film really just consists of fight scenes between Master Tang’s gang and Master Pain’s gang, intercut with scenes between The Chosen One and his love interest Ling (Tse Ling Ling). There is also a cow and a baby that can do karate, something inexplicable to do with aliens and the Eiffel Tower and a weird lion like God.

This is Steve Oederkerk’s first starring role in a feature, having written several Hollywood comedies, The Nutty Professor, Patch Adams and the Ace Ventura series. He has a lot of fun with the dialogue over dubs and generally just making fun of martial arts stereotypes. If you are currently having a revival of interest in the Monkey Magic series then maybe this film will appeal to you, but after an hour and a half of the same joke over and over again, the whole thing becomes pretty tedious. If Oederkerk’s character was a bit more interesting and a bit less like a mix between Ace Ventura and Austin Powers, the shortcomings of the rest of the film might not have been so apparent. I’ll give it 1 star for effort.