Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday Movie Theater: Kung Pow! Enter the Fist (2002)

If you like it, you will really like it; if you hate it, you will really hate it

The "Sunday Movie Theater" makes a special late appearance today - not just late as in the time of this posting, but it's supposed to be for September too. ^^; I was planning to post it late last month but as I was in Jakarta, Indonesia on a working trip, I didn't have the time to do a proper write-up. ^^; To keep up with my monthly schedule for this posting segment, there will be two trips to the movie theater on my blog this month. ^^

On the other hand, I haven't find any time to talk about my short trip to Indonesia yet. ^^;

Anyway, back to the extremely "serious" subject matter today. XD

Movie poster is from IMDB.

Trailer of the movie.
Video clip is from Youtube. Follow this link to the website if you can't see anything.

"Kung Pow! Enter the Fist", a 2002 movie directed by Steve Oedekerk. Technical movie details can be seen on IMDB, while the entire story is up on the movie's Wikipedia page.

I first knew about this movie back in my early days as a university students, and it was through some random conversation with some of my friends back then, "Hey, have you seen the movie that has a cow doing Kung Fu with The Matrix effect?" Even though Internet access was not as ubiquitous and fast back then, I did manage to watch a short clip of "a cow doing Kung Fu with The Matrix effect" from a movie that was still unknown to me at the time. ^^ I noted the rather dated CG effect, but the fight sequence was still really amusing. ^^

You can watch a bit of said sequence in the movie trailer attached above, or you can also search for the longer version of it on Youtube, and I'm pretty sure I have given you enough hints as to what keywords to enter for the search. XD

As usual, I only managed to find out the movie title and watched it in its entirety years after checking out the aforementioned fight scene. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but besides the laughters, I can't help but to remember it as being a really unique piece of work - definitely not Academy Award-worthy, but it's something we don't get to see very often. ^^

Don't get me wrong though, it's a ridiculous, cheesy, completely-over-the-top popcorn movie that you can watch and forget, but the movie was able to blend all those elements in its unique charm that made it stand out among many comedies and parody movies. I wanted to call it a guilty pleasure for me, but I don't feel that it's a poorly done movie that ought to be labelled so, even after the many re-watches over the years. ^^

As a matter of fact, since I keep thinking about some of its scenes from those re-watch experience, "Kung Pow!" was one of the movies that immediately came to mind when I started this segment back in January 2013. ^^

Essentially a parody comedy, "Kung Pow!" features footages from Wang Yu's (王羽) 1976 martial art film "The Savage Killers" (虎鶴雙形) and new footages made by Steve Oedekerk added in to present pretty much the same good-versus-evil action movie, except it's completely silly in every department. XD Between the serious, genuine Kung Fu scenes made by Hong Kong producers and actors done loyally to its genre, and Steve Oedekerk's CG-ed add-ons and edits done 26 years after the original movie, there is no "compromise". XD

Like most Chinese martial art movies, "The Savage Killers" has a simple story to focus more on real Kung Fu action. For "Kung Pow!" however, the simple story still stands, and you do get to watch some Kung Fu action in either Wang Yu's actual footages or Steve Oedekerk's CG edits, but the majority rest of it is just, well, completely ridiculous slapstick humor. XD

How ridiculous is it? If the cow doing Kung Fu with The Matrix effect mentioned earlier on isn't crazy enough, how about a Kung Fu-fighting baby, aliens, a protagonist named "Betty", Mufasa and BBC, MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This" in one of the action scenes? XD Then again, the edits are there purely for humor and nothing else. In many ways, the movie feels like P. Ramlee's "Ali Baba Bujang Lapok" (1960), which was reviewed in this segment back in March 2013. The seemingly needless scene with Kassim Baba pretending to train with a barbell and the constant mentioning of belacan, which are anachronisms in the context of that movie are similar in application with most of the edits in "Kung Pow!" - they are there just for the laughters and nothing more. ^^

Then again, in comparison, everything in "Ali Baba Bujang Lapok" (1960) was shot for the movie, while "Kung Pow!" is a combination of old and new footages with CG effects. Also, the slapstick elements in the latter are done to an excessive level I would say, and almost all of them makes no sense at all. XD

Due to the ridiculous edits, I can understand the dislike and criticism towards the movie. If you don't go along with the crazy ride of the way the movie was presented, many of the supposed funny scenes would look really fake and overdone that they don't seem funny at all - they might even feel mindless or tasteless even. The movie would be a turn-off if one has that perception in mind, and almost immediately so too as the crazy ride begins right from jump. ^^;

With that understanding in mind even before I first watched the movie, I didn't except anything in it to be normal - normal as in how most other parody movies or parodies were made. For that, I did find the movie to be funny and entertaining.

It's so ridiculous nobody would make anything so ridiculous anymore nowadays perhaps. XD

To make the point of parodying the original movie using CG stronger, some of the edits featuring Steve Oedekerk's shots superimposed on Wang Yu's scenes from the 1976 movie can be found in the credit sequence, which seems quite impressive despite the low-tech editing method. ^^

Furthermore, there's a trailer for a sequel, "Tongue of Fury" at the end as well, which I'm pretty sure is a parody of the showing of movie trailers in its own right. ^^ Is an actual sequel coming? I don't think so. XD

Overall, a very silly but still entertaining movie this is. There's neither serious plot point nor amazing action sequence in it, just simple fun and laughter, which may be hard to come by in movies these days. ^^

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