Kung Pow: Enter The Fist – Desperate to stop the prophecy of ‘The Chosen One’, an evil martial art master slaughters a family. However, the infant Chosen One escapes and grows up learning Kung-Fu so he can seek his revenge. But although his fighting skills are superb, will the adult Chosen One stand a chance against the evil ‘Betty’? And just from where does Betty derive his strength?
Kung Pow: Enter The Fist (2002) – Director: Steve Oedekerk
By http://img132.imageshack.us/img132/3576/kungpowenterthefistxlg4ck.jpg, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4077373
Running Length: 81 mins
Starring: Steve Oedekerk, Fei Lung, Leo Lee
Genre: Comedy, Martial Arts
REVIEW: ‘KUNG POW: ENTER THE FIST’
Never it be said that we don’t cover niche or cult films. We saw ‘Kung Pow: Enter The Fist’ when we were back in our early twenties. At this point the parody movie machine was in full force with movies like ‘Scary Movie’ and other such ‘Airplane’-lite rips dominating the comedy sphere. Kung Pow stood out for both being even more daft that its contemporaries but also, oddly, more full of love for its origins.
‘Kung Pow: Enter The Fist’ has a unique approach in that it actually uses the bulk of its footage from a 1976 Hong Kong movie called ‘Tiger and the Crane Fist’. Thanks to clever effects work, writer, director, and star, Steve Oedekerk implants himself to replace the central character of the Hong Kong original, The dialogue is all replaced by modern voice over to comedic effect so that the end result is a weird hybrid of modern versus classic martial arts.
In practice this makes for a mixed bag of a movie. Many of the joke works very well in isolation, poking fun at specific moments in the source material. But overdubbing a comedy voice characteristic over a character leads to diminishing returns. Ling’s “oh wee-you weee-you ooo-ee-ooo-ooo!” voice style quickly gets annoying and Oedekerk clearly struggled to follow an interesting technological ability through. It is very easy to hightlight the flaws because they are numerous (the CGI cow fight scene is an exercise in clock watching), but, despite padding issues and a saggy middle, ‘Kung Pow: Enter The Fist’ is still chock full of comedic nuggets.
In our household at least there are several moments that have fallen into everyday conversation. The nature of implanting and over-dubbing an existing movie makes for plenty of unique laugh out loud moments. You will never see another movie like Kung Pow outside of YouTube low-budget nonsense and, in this household at least, Kung Pow is a beloved movie just because it is so stupidly entertaining. This is Daft with a capital ‘D’!
Cult movie? Yes. Niche? Yes. Stupid and silly? Yes. But we still love ‘Kung Pow: Enter The Fist’. It’s fun and, unlike the recent crop of cynical ‘pastiche’ movies, it has a real and obvious love for its source material. Bruce Lee fans rejoice, for Kung Pow will roundhouse kick you into laughter.
CONTENT: IS ‘KUNG POW: ENTER THE FIST’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
A family in their house is scared. There is a knock at the door and when the father answers he is killed by the visitor. We don’t see the detail but we see from behind him that he is attacked in some way and he drops to the floor. A baby is threatened with a knife. However, the baby soon urinates on the attacker, making the scene a comedic one. Sharp objects are thrown and embedded into the backs of some unnamed minions. There were two young children in this scene who aren’t seen again although the house is set on fire so it is presumed they will have died. The baby escapes the fire but rolls down a large rocky hill. It’s obvious that the ‘baby’ has been temporarily replaced with a plastic doll though.
Over a voiceover it is described how a man is under constant attack. He uses kung-fu to protect himself and has become very good at it. He reduces the clothing of a male attacker to resemble a bra and panties. The attacker tries to cover themselves up in embarrassment. He also punches a circular hole through the stomach of an attacker. There is no gore to this, the man just collapses. However the voiceover exclaims surprise and states, “That’s, like, his stomach blood over there!”.
A man shoves his hand into the ground and pulls out some gophers. He strings them together and calls them ‘gopher-chucks’ in order to combat an attacker with nunchuks. Despite grabbing animals, they are not shown to suffer and when he lets them go he does so carefully. As part of this sequence the man uses some stabby finger attacks and plucks out the eyes of his attackers. Their faces aren’t seen but has is shown to have lots of eyeballs covering his fingers. The voiceover also mentions a “fart” that “killed the dog”.
One character flashes a breast covered with a bra. This is done extremely quickly and the main character blinks and misses it.
In a display of dominance, the bad guy (‘Betty’) instructs a group of men to repeatedly smack wooden poles over him and into his crotch and doesn’t react at all.
There is mention of one of Betty’s lackeys having a toe cut off for failure. A brief shot of feet in shoes in seen as they limp away and jet of blood arcs out of their shoe.
In a training sequence the Chosen One directs people to attack him with wooden poles so that he can shrug it off like Betty did earlier. However, the poles really hurt him and he collapses under the repeated crotch blows. They continue to attack him until he is unconscious.
A female character with a low cut top attacks. Her clothing makes it clear she only has one breast right in the middle, much to the confusion of the Chosen One.
In a fight with a CGI cow, the Chosen One milks it until it looks emaciated and collapses.
A female character is apparently attracted to the Chosen One. She is wearing a traditional Chinese clothing that can be easily removed. She keeps undressing and dressing whilst her dialogue explains she is confused about her feelings. We see her just from the back but the Chosen One is clearly getting flashes of her naked front. Her dialogue says that she “Doesn’t want [him] to think [she’s] a slut”
Betty goes on a killing spree. He forces someone’s head into a wall and there is a blood splat.
Use of the famous “Baby Got Back” song!
Betty swings metal claws around as his weaponry. These hit people and some blood is shown on impact.
A scene shows the ‘deaths’ of several characters with comedic escalation. The Chosen One’s master collapses in reeds and ‘dies’. Ling, the ‘love interest’ is also in the reeds and ‘dies’. A dog from earlier is also in the reeds and ‘dies’. The scene then reverses and they all come back to life.
The lackey who before had lost a toe has now lost an entire foot. We see the bloody stump but the character shows no sign of pain.
A dog humps the leg of Betty.
There is a derogatory comment towards the French where a characters summarises the French as “stinking pits and all”
Small metallic pyramids are pulled out of the body of someone and there are brief jets of blood as this happens.
A squirrel is struck although this isn’t revealed until a fight has finishes, The squirrel is shown completely flattened and with a hand print in the middle of its body. However, it scuttles away apparently unharmed.
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
VERDICT: IS ‘KUNG POW: ENTER THE FIST’ FOR KIDS?
‘Kung Pow: Enter The Fist’ certainly is full of tons of slapstick and daftness that will appeal to children, but many of the jokes are based on adult blood / sex / dialogue stupidity that will only appeal to adults. The whole concept of parodying old Chinese / Japanese Kung Fu movies is one that is unlikely to resonate with children so they will have to take it at face value, and on this basis the movie has a saggy mid-section. Therefore we would suggest that Kung Pow: Enter The Dragon is suitable for ages 12 and up.
- Violence: 4/5 (lots of fights and blood although this is always comedic in nature)
- Emotional Distress: 1/5 (some character deaths but these are quickly reversed)
- Fear Factor: 2/5 (‘Betty’ is ruthless and his callousness may upset)
- Sexual Content: 2/5 (sexual suggestion and occasional non-graphic flashes of nudity)
- Bad Language: 1/5 (occasional mild use such as ‘crap’)
- Dialogue: 2/5 (verbal threats)
- Other Notes: Deals with themes of vengeance, power hungry behaviour, selfishness, deference to power, and fighting against the odds, and…….the problem with face tongues??)
Words by Mike Record
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