[box cover]

Kung Pow: Enter the Fist

Yes, it's that movie with the kung fu-fighting cow, but Kung Pow: Enter the Fist is so much more than cheap CGI bovine jokes. Steve Oedekerk's ode to bad '70s Hong Kong cinema is a gleefully bizarre combination of loving homage and merciless satire, bad special effects and unexpected jokes. The film — a mix of new shots and re-jiggered footage from the 1976 martial arts "classic" Tiger and Crane Fists, all dubbed over (in a multitude of voices) by Oedekerk — tells the story of the Chosen One (Oedekerk again), a martial arts superstar on a quest to avenge his family's death at the hands of the cruel Master Pain (Fei Lung). The fact that this brooding villain is also known as "Betty" is typical of Kung Pow's cracked brand of humor — one that admittedly isn't for everyone. More off-kilter than the "stupid funny" of Airplane! and Naked Gun and not quite as deadpan as something like Best in Show or Waiting for Guffman, Kung Pow's high notes revolve around things like gopher-chucks, squeaky-shoe sound effects, and a well-timed burst of "Can't Touch This." The film's appeal can be hard to explain, but it has something to do with the juxtaposition of Oedekerk's silliness with the earnest over-acting and abysmal production values of the 1976 movie; the best jokes succeed all the better for their jarring unexpectedness. Less successful are the broad, obvious bits like the aforementioned cow fight; Holsteins were over after Me, Myself and Irene and Rat Race. Ultimately, Kung Pow succeeds on its sheer originality — love it or hate it, you can be pretty sure you'll never see anything else like it. Unless, that is, Oedekerk and company follow through on their desire to produce at least one (and maybe two) Kung Pow sequels, a possibility the writer/director and his producer/editor Paul Marshal discuss on their commentary. Just one of the tons of extras crammed onto Fox's disc, the enthusiastic, wry track is sure to engage fans. Other highlights include a set of 14 deleted scenes (the "I Believe" song is a riot, particularly when you listen to the real lyrics) and a "What Were They Really Saying?" audio track, which strips off Oedekerk's dubbing in favor of the original Mandarin and English lines (the latter are mostly strings of nonsense formulated to resemble key vocal sounds in the dubbed dialogue). And there's plenty more: a second alternate audio track (this one a stuffy "book on tape" version), two short "making-of" featurettes, six scenes with alternate dialogue, promos and trailers, a photo gallery, and a few other assorted goodies. The anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) reveals the purposely grainy print in all its glory, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is clear (all the better to showcase Oedekerk's many voices). Other options include French and Spanish Dolby 2.0 Surround tracks and English and Spanish subtitles. Keep-case.
—Betsy Bozdech



Back to Quick Reviews Index: [A-F] [G-L] [M-R] [S-Z]

Back to Main Page