Kung Pow: Enter the Fist
Directed by Steve Oedekerk
Review by Evelyn Gildrie-Voyles <firstname.lastname@example.org>
First let's get something straight: Kung Pow: Enter the Fist is not really a parody of kung fu films; it's a cut-and-paste job. Steve Oedekerk took an actual 1977 Kung Fu film called Savage Killers, wiped out all the dialogue, dubbed in new dialogue, inserted himself and other actors into the footage (à la Forrest Gump) and added a few completely new scenes. Cut-and-paste movies can be very funny, particularly if they use well-known films. I am extremely fond of Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, a cut-and-paste movie featuring Steve Martin and a whole slew of film noir clips. Kung Pow: Enter The Fist is not very funny; it's very bad.
The plot that Oedekerk has pasted together out of the fragments of Savage Killers is a good basis for a kung fu parody: An evil warlord, Master Pain (Fei Lung), tries to kill an infant prophesied to be "the chosen one." He kills the baby's family and burns down the house, but the baby survives and grows up vowing revenge for his family's death.
The kung fu genre, especially the super-serious 70s version, has a lot of elements ripe for parody: the stock revenge plots, the odd fight scenes, the stylized language, the super human strength and abilities, the super-chaste women, the really bad dubbing, etc. Oedekerk touches on some of these things briefly, but he mainly focuses on creating humor by using squeaky voices, body functions, body deformities, fisting references, and pointless whiny noises instead of dialogue. These techniques fail; they're just not funny. The high-pitched voices that were used for most of the characters and the whiny noises where particularly painful. They made the film impossible to listen too when any character but the "chosen one" (voiced and acted by Oedekerk) was speaking.
I thought about giving this monstrosity a zero, but I did laugh a few times -- here is a list of everything in this film that I found remotely funny.
The kung-fu baby at the opening is funny (the baby repeatedly falling down a cliff and bouncing on rocks is not funny). The monotone voice over for "the chosen one" is mildly funny as is the fact that he is called "chosen one" throughout the entire film. The first fight where everyone falls down with out being hit made me chuckle. The kung-fu cow bit threatens to be funny, but doesn't quite make it.
That's it; that's all the funny there was. The movie was only an hour and a half but it felt like at least three hours long. It was interminable. Don't go see this, don't rent it, don't watch it on cable. Stay away and if you ever see writer, producer, director, and star Steve Oedekerk tell him "Shame, shame, shame" for creating such utter rot.
For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Kung Pow: Enter the Fist (2002)