Saturday, May 02, 2015

Kung Pow! Enter the Fist

Written, directed, and starring Steve Oedekerk, Kung Pow! Enter the Fist is a kung-fu film spoof in which a young man trains to be the best as he vows to avenge the death of his family in the hands of an evil lord. Taking footage from the 1976 film Tiger and Crane Fist by Jimmy Wang Yu, the film has Oedekerk insert himself into the film to create something different along with new footage as he also voices many of the other characters in the film as it also features Jennifer Tung. Kung Pow! Enter the Fist is an absolutely stupid, idiotic, dim-witted yet flat-out hilarious film from Steve Oedekerk.

The film is essentially a simple story about vengeance in which a young man who is claimed to be the Chosen One is the one person that can defeat a secret evil council whose membership includes the dark lord that killed his family many years ago. Yet, it is told in which Steve Oedekerk plays the Chosen One as he inserts himself into another film with the use of a chroma key re-dubs many of the lines that appear in the film. There, Oedekerk allows the Chosen One character to endure many situations in order to get revenge on the man that killed his family known as Master Pain (Fei Lung) who has renamed himself as Betty. Along the way, hilarity ensues as the Chosen One falls for a shy Ling (Ling Ling Tse) while being trained by the deranged Master Tang (Hui Lou Chen) who often sings weird songs and carries a big secret.

The lack of a conventional screenplay allows Oedekerk to recreate scenes that matches elements of the original film where he would create these intricate fight scenes with elements of silliness. Even as there’s stuntmen that pretend to be other characters as they’re put into idiotic situations. The fight scenes mix in not just elements of the real fight but also with re-created moments as some of the odd moments involve a man carrying a boom box that plays rap songs. Oedekerk’s approach to the dubbing often has moments where the dubbing is intentionally out of sync as it involves the Chosen One’s dog. Oedekerk keeps much of the compositions simple while bringing some stylish moments including a fight sequence with a cow that mixes CGI and other visual effects. Even as Oedekerk would use some of the narration to play into moments that are funny as it relates to Betty’s iron claws. Overall, Oedekerk creates a very silly yet imaginative film about a guy trying to beat an evil master.

Cinematographer John J. Connor does excellent work with the cinematography in matching the look of the original film while creating some unique lighting for scenes set at night. Editor Paul Marshal does nice work with the editing as it‘s very stylish to play into the film‘s humor and some of its action sequences. Production designer Sean Mannion and Hector Velez, with set decorators Veronica Baena Arellano and Pachilu Moreno, do amazing work with the look of some of the set pieces from the training buildings and bases where some of the characters lived in.

Costume designer Shawnelle Cherry does nice work with the costumes from the robes and clothes that is often typical of martial arts films. Visual effects supervisor Chris Watts does fantastic work with some of the visual effects including the mysterious tongue of the Chosen One and the cow that the Chosen One would fight against. Sound designer David Grimaldi and sound editor Michael Hilkene do terrific work with the sound in creating some of the sound effects for the film involving its action and humor as well as some of the off-sync dubbing. The film’s music by Robert Folk is wonderful as it features some bombastic yet exuberant orchestral music while music supervisors Jeff Carson and Frankie Pine bring in a fun soundtrack filled with tracks from MC Hammer, Sir Mix-a-Lot, Ram Jam, and other styles of music from pop to kitsch.

The casting by Linda Francis is superb as it features notable small appearances from Nasty Nes as the boom-box henchman, Simon Rhee as a henchman of Master Pain, Alejandro Olazabal as the baby Chosen One, Leo Lee as the young Master Pain, and Jennifer Tung in a hilarious performance as the one-breasted guide Whoa. The performances from Hui Lou Chen as Master Tang, Ling Ling Tse as Ling, Fei Lung as Betty, and Lau-Kar Wong as dim-witted Wimp Lo are funny due to the re-dubs performed by Steve Oedekerk. Finally, there’s Steve Oedekerk in a brilliant performance as the Chosen One as brings a lot of silliness and campy humor to the performance as someone who is quite powerful but also na├»ve in thinking he could beat Betty until he learns what he has to do to beat him.

Kung Pow! Enter the Fist is a phenomenal film from Steve Oedekerk. The film is definitely low-brow comedy at its finest as it’s not afraid to be extremely silly nor refusing itself to be taken seriously as it’s just a kung-fu spoof that manages to bring in big laughs and more. In the end, Kung Pow! Enter the Fist is a remarkable film from Steve Oedekerk.

© thevoid99 2015

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