Dub-le Fisted
Kung Pow: Enter the Fist
Review by Ross Anthony

"Kung Pow" jabs, kicks and scratches at the screen with a dub-le fistful of slapstick, sight gags and shocking visuals. The dose is strong and funny, for the first 15 minutes anyway; after that, the potency wanes dramatically or should I say "undramatically."

Dubbing over a 1976 martial arts flick, "Kung Pow" superimposes its hero "The Chosen One" (Steve Oedekerk) into the Hong Kong martial arts world.

Even as an infant, "Chosen One" defends himself admirably. In the opening scene, trapped against the mantel, the infant runs up the evil guy's sword, over his arm, then kicks him several times in the face. That's creative and fun. Unfortunately, fresh, interesting fight variations like this are diluted throughout the rest of the piece. Inconsistently funny, silly voice-over work and increasingly longer durations between truly fun bits are the norm following that vibrant, but short opening act. Even so, "Kung Pow" never drops into the horrid, and still hosts some memorable highlights:

  1. The infant "Chosen One" rolls down a hill. (It's obviously a doll, but somehow that makes it all the more silly.)
  2. "Chosen One" punches a perfect hole in the chest of an opponent.
  3. A group of students practice their skills to this staccato chant: "Our sexual preferences are our own business."
  4. The foolish hot-head is purposely trained wrong as a joke, "I was hoping to one day be the chosen one." His slippers squeak like a child's toy as he walks.
  5. MooShoofasa: a rib at the Lion King, "It's all part of the great circle of ... ah ... stuff."

As the credits roll, the filmmakers include insights into the blue-screening and film tricks utilized to make this American the star of in an old Chinese film. Oedekerk says, "I have a love scene with an actress whose part was filmed twenty-five years ago! It's kind of like making out with your mom ... wait a second, that's not good."

No doubt available in video stores everywhere, seeing this destined-to-be-a-rental on the big screen added a bit of humorous ironic spice.

Interestingly enough, writer, director, producer, star Steve Oedekerk acquired and dubbed "Tiger and Crane Fists" (Aka: "Hu He Shuang Xing") nearly solo. All of the characters voices (save for Whoa) are done by him. He says, "The whole film is pretty much me talking to myself." Steve also wrote "Nutty Professor," "Patch Adams," and "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls."

  • Kung Pow: Enter the Fist. Copyright © 2002. Rated PG-13.
  • Release: January 18, 2002.
  • Starring Steve Oedekerk, Lung Fai, Leo Lee, Tse Ling Ling, Jenifer Tung.
  • Written & Directed by Steve Oedekerk.
  • Produced by Steve, Paul Marshal, Tom Koranda at O Entertainment/20th Cent. Fox.

Grade.......................... Strong B-

Copyright © 2002. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:06:30 PDT