What do you get when you mix RiffTrax with an Airplane!-esque spoof comedy and pepper it with a parody dub-video from YouTube? If my calculations are correct, you’ll end up with Kung Pow! – Enter The Fist, which is about as bizarre as a film can get.
Basically, what this is is an absurdly modified version of an old and obscure Chinese martial arts film called Tiger and Crane Fist (org. title 虎鶴雙形, or Savage Killers) which has been redubbed and re-edited, which was done almost entirely by Steve Oedekerk in totally ludicrous and weirdly hilarious ways. The result is so stupid and ridiculous that it becomes awesome.
Oedekerk has pretty much edited himself into the film, thus replacing Jimmy Wang Yu as a legendary and insanely powerful warrior known as The Chosen One, who is so strong that he can do push-ups without using his hands or his feet. He also has a powerful tongue. Even as an infant he could kick every ass that dared approach him, as seen in a prologue where we’re also told of The Evil Council who hired a mysterious man to murder his parents. We later join The Chosen One as an adult, searching for the killer. He journeys to a town and meets Master Tang (Hui Lou Chen), asking for more training.
After showing off his almost cartoon-y fighting skills and powers to the others in the town, another trainer aptly named Wimp Lo (Chia Yung Liu), who was trained wrong on purpose “as a joke”, begins to dislike him. Another character The Chosen One meets is a woman named Ling (Tse Ling-ling), who according to Tang will start having feelings towards The Chosen One at some point in the story.
The villain is an evil warrior named Master Pain (Fei Lung), though he prefers the name Betty. The Chosen One soon discovers that he is the assassin whom he has been searching for through all these years.
As stated, most of the actors in the film are the original cast of Tiger Crane Fist dubbed over by Oedekerk. Jennifer Tung, however, provided the voice for a character she portrays in the movie, namely Whoa, a warrior woman who has only one breast. I don’t know why. No one does. No one’s supposed to.
Kung Pow! is a truly fascinating piece of work. It is, let us be honest, a lazily made film but at the same time it is made in such a brilliantly hilarious way. The jokes are breathtakingly stupid, but they crack me up every single time I give the film another viewing. Highlights include a Matrix-esque fight between The Chosen One and a cow (I’m not kidding) and all of the scenes that are so poorly and incorrectly dubbed on purpose, that one can’t help but laugh.
There is, for example, a scene where we can clearly see that The Chosen One is screaming. The dub, however, is a very calm “I must implore you to reconsider”. Wonderful. This, of course, is poking fun at how lousily dubbed Asian martial arts movies tend to be, especially the older ones.
Though being highly enjoyable in such a bizarre way, is Kung Pow! perfect? Not really. Some moments drag for a bit and are only mildly funny, but even those scenes might work if you’re high on Cola whilst watching. Also, the bits where Oedekerk uses only grunts and other noises to dub over the Chinese actors, as if he’s run out of words to use, get somewhat annoying after a while. The special effects are immensely cheesy but that’s part of what makes the film the fun.
Kung Pow! – Enter The Fist might very well be the stupidest and most ridiculous movie ever made, and it is ingenious. I hope they weren’t joking about the sequel with the French space aliens. Yes, French space aliens. Kung Pow 2 – Toungue of Fury ’tis called.