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August 2002                                                  SITE MAP   SEARCH
Kung Pow: Enter The Fist
cast: Steve Oedekerk, Jennifer Tung, Leo Lee, Lung Fai, and Tse Ling-ling

director: Steve Oedekerk

78 minutes (12) 2001 widescreen ratio 2.35:1
20th Century Fox DVD Regions 2 + 4 rental
Also available to rent on video

RATING: 5/10
reviewed by Rob Marshall
This martial arts comedy is an occasionally witty spoof of chop socky flicks which parodies the conventions of Hong Kong movies - focusing on the terrible dubbing of dialogue scenes, haphazard editing styles, and OTT superhuman feats of speed and strength.
   As director and star, Steve Oedekerk reuses footage from the forgotten Tiger & Crane Fists (1976), blending his Chosen One protagonist into a quest-for-revenge storyline, and adding some state-of-the-art digital effects to enhance the various fighting scenes. He also dubs over all the original movie's voices himself, which isn't a particularly good idea, but at least gave him full control over the mediocre results. Oh, well...
   Unlike Steve Martin's cherished spoof of 1940s' film noir and detective movies, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (1982), this film lacks any Hollywood superstars to support the main players. And, although the technical achievements of Oedekerk and his cinematic forgers, here, are comparable to those of Woody Allen's pseudo documentary Zelig (1983), or Robert Zemeckis' Oscar winning whimsy of Forrest Gump (1994), there's a sense that the medium and its redefining CGI technology is being used simply because it's there, and not for any laudable aesthetic reason. As such, Kung Pow: Enter The Fist may entertain, only sporadically, anyone that would count themselves as a fan of Asian action movies, and has precious little to offer viewers who (perhaps) remain blissfully unfamiliar with the genre traditions being ridiculed.
   Much silliness - including a combative cow, a baby master of self-defence (this is the opening, and funniest sequence), and the infrequent appearances of single-breasted karate heroine, Whoa (Jennifer Tung), leads eventually to the Chosen's showdown with invulnerable villain Master Pain, alias Betty. Admittedly, Kung Pow is amusing, and boasts a few moments of grand lunacy, but we have visited, explored and mapped this comedic realm before in the short film A Fistful Of Yen (see John Landis' anarchic sketch compilation Kentucky Fried Movie, 1977), and this adds too few secret ingredients to the same old recipe.
   DVD extras: special effects expose, including 'animatics'. Four deleted scenes, with material that shows Chosen being tortured and beaten.
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