Kung Fury (2015)
Hi, it’s Pam, finally back with a new review. As long-time readers of Million Monkey Theater know, Nate searches Youtube for review fodder and generally comes up with some real gems. I’ve got one of them for you today, a movie so bad it goes right through “bad” and into “good,” or at least funny. It’s a thirty-minute-long goody called “Kung Fury.” As it happens, I’ve never reviewed a Kung Fu movie before. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever watched a Kung Fu movie all the way through. Still, I’ve read quite a few reviews of Kung Fu movies, so I know the standard features of the genre. This one has them all, and more.
We open in Miami of 1985. As all viewers of Miami Vice know, Miami was a very dangerous place in the 1980s. This is quickly confirmed as we see members of a street gang flip a skateboard under a police car and send it flying straight into the air, where they blast it apart with their pistols. But there were yet bigger threats to the citizens of Miami than a few punks: for example, rogue arcade game machines that pick up cars and throw them into buildings, blow peoples’ heads clean off with a single shot, and most monstrous of all, threaten adorable little dogs.
Horrors. Is all lost for Miami? Who can fight against such powerful criminals? Fortunately there is one man, who else but …”Kung Fury!” Yes, this master of martial arts is able to jump off the top of a high-rise building and land in his Lambo; drive 150 miles an hour to the area where the deranged arcade game machine is wreaking its havoc; send his car flying through the air while he rides on it like a surfboard and pours bullets into the arcade machine; and, beat the arcade machine into a mass of scrap metal with his bare hands. He does all of this in about 40 seconds total. (The adorable little dog escapes unharmed, if you were worried.)
This is going to be fun.
But this is nothing for Kung Fury. As the movie progresses, we’ll see he can do much, much more, including picking up an entire tank, ripping off peoples’ arms, and jumping so high he can bounce off a satellite and ricochet back to Earth. Lucky Miami, to have Kung Fury protecting it!
But how, you ask, did Kung Fury attain his wonderful skills? Did he study hard and practice a lot? No, it was both fast and painful. Kung Fury started out as a simple police officer on the mean streets of Miami, until one night when he and his senior partner had occasion to chase down and capture a Kung Fu Master. No sooner was the Kung Fu Master handcuffed and the not-yet Kung Fury had uttered the words “You’re like a father to me” to his partner, when Kung Fu Master broke his handcuffs, produced a sword from nowhere, and cut the senior police office right in half from head to foot. A horrific experience for Kung Fury, as I’m sure you’ll all agree, but worse was to come. Immediately after his partner’s demise, Kung Fury was struck by lightning and bitten by a cobra, which gave him some impressive powers. His new-found powers allowed Kung Fury to kick Kung Fu Master into a gasoline tanker truck, setting the truck on fire and presumably Kung Fu Master as well. But before Kung Fu Master is (possibly) immolated, he hails the once-humble police officer as the “Chosen One” of Kung Fu, Kung Fury!
However, back to the present. Kung Fury’s battle with the game machine inflicted quite a bit of collateral damage on the area where the fight took place, and the Mayor is very unhappy and is expressing his unhappiness to the Chief of Police. The Chief believes Kung Fury needs a partner to rein him in a little, and fortunately a suitable one is at hand. And here we meet Triceracop, who is, as you may or may not have guessed, a Triceratops. Triceracop walks on his hind legs and looks quite good in a police uniform, but Kung Fury is unimpressed. It seems he was so traumatized by his partner’s death that he can’t face the possibility of losing another partner, and so Kung Fury quits the police force.
But Miami is still a place filled with dangerous criminals, and Kung Fury has barely left the office when one of them shows up and begins threatening the good citizens of Miami, starting with the police themselves. Who is this criminal? Well, who was the worst criminal of the 20th century? Bonnie and Clyde? Not even warm. Ted Bundy? Still cold. Hannibal Lector? Ha! Who else but Adolf Hitler! Yes, Hitler not only shows up in 1985 Miami, he kills off a significant part of the police force right away. He accomplishes this by calling the police chief, then firing an endless stream of bullets from his pistol into the telephone, from which the bullets emerge into police headquarters to strike down a number of cops. Let’s all be grateful the real Hitler never thought of doing this.
Well, what can Kung Fury do? He feels obligated to step back in. His first action is to order the call to be traced, and fortunately assistance is at hand in the shape of Hackerman, a young computer expert who bears some resemblance to Weird Al Yankovic. Hackerman is able to trace the call and identify the caller, although it seems the name “Adolf Hitler” is unknown to him. Kung Fury enlightens him, and us, because he reveals some facts about Hitler that I for one didn’t know.
The name says it all.
It seems that Hitler was in fact a Kung Fu master known as “Kung Fuehrer.” However, this wasn’t good enough for him. He conducted all sorts of sinister experiments to try to make himself the Chosen One, but nothing worked. So he traveled through time to 1985 Miami to find the real Kung Fury and kill him and make sure he’s the most powerful Kung Fu master in the world.
Adolf the Kung Fu Master.
Lucky for the entire world, with Kung Fury it’s once a cop, always a cop. He feels the least he can do to combat this menace is to travel in time back to Nazi Germany and kill Hitler. But where to get a time machine? Hackerman can help with that, too, and in less than a minute, Kung Fury is provided with a Commodore 64 that he rides like a skateboard back to 1945.
Time has been hacked!
Er, not quite. Kung Fury overshoots the mark by quite a bit and ends up back in the Viking Age, which it seems was infested with fire-breathing dinosaurs, one of which incinerates Kung Fury’s Commodore 64 and threatens Kung Fury himself. It’s looking bad for our hero, although you would think if he could beat an arcade machine to pieces he could take on a dinosaur, but luckily he’s rescued in the nick of time by Barbarianna, a fur-clad horn-wearing babe who rides in on an enormous wolf and blows away the dinosaur with a burst from her machine gun. Really. Barbarianna hands Kung Fury over to Katana, another Viking babe who gives him a ride on her dinosaur to Thor, who uses his hammer to make a portal that will send Kung Fury back to Nazi Germany. I’m not making this up.
Thor kisses his awesome biceps.
And he’s off. This time he makes it to 1945, where he announces his arrival by picking up a tank by its gun and smashing a couple of Nazi soldiers with it. After that, he throws the tank through a wall into a hall where Hitler is giving a speech and showing off his Kung Fu moves. Then it’s a brutal fight where Kung Fury mows down Nazis by the hundreds on his way to Hitler, aka Kung Fuehrer. But Hitler has an ace up his sleeve, and Kung Fury has almost reached him when the front of Hitler’s podium opens to reveal a machine gun, with which Hitler shoots Kung Fury along with a number of Nazi bystanders.
”Are you done with that spine?”
Mother of Mercy, is this the end of Kung Fury? No. Kung Fuehrer has no friends, while Kung Fury has a lot, and just as Kung Fury collapses, they all show up. That is to say Thor, a dinosaur, Barbarianna, Katana, Hackerman, and Triceracop appear in the hall, each armed with his choice of weapon. In very short order all of the Nazis are killed, but it appears as though it’s too late for Kung Fury. He’s actually gone to the Afterlife and met his Spirit Animal (a cobra, naturally) who has told him he’s dead. But Kung Fury still has an ace to play, and when he threatens to arrest his Spirit Animal for obstruction of justice, the cobra promptly sends him back to the land of the living, where it turns out that Hackerman has “hacked away” all of Kung Fury’s bullet wounds.
Animated sequence? Yes.
But what of Kung Fuehrer? He’s still in the hall, and he tries to convince the resurrected Kung Fury to join up with him. Kung Fury is having none of it, but in the end it seems that he isn’t going to have a chance to choose anyway, because just then Thor shows up and smashes Hitler to oblivion with his hammer. So we’ve got a happy ending , made happier by Kung Fury admitting that he and Triceracop are now partners, and after Kung Fury makes a lame joke, they all go back to their own times.
Hitler's stache is angry.
Did I say “happy ending?” Not quite. Kung Fury actually goes back a couple of days before he left, back to the time he fought the arcade machine. Just as he’s beating up the machine, Hitler appears in a dark alley. And just as Kung Fury is administering the coup-de-grace to the machine, he sees a swastika on the arcade machine, and we see Hitler flying over Miami, perched on the giant eagle that stood over his podium back in 1945.
Yeah, that makes sense.
I didn’t make any of this up.
This was actually a pretty funny movie, and it skewers the clichés of both kung fu and cop movies very nicely. It’s only about half an hour long, which is the right length. Any longer, and the jokes would have gotten tiresome. It’s also well-made, especially considering it was shot on a shoestring budget. It’s worth 30 minutes of your time.
For this scene alone!
Full disclosure: Nate contributed significantly to this movie's kickstarter so he's probably biased, so it's a good thing I wrote this review instead :).
Written in March 2017 by Pam Burda.
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