It’s like flies on Kung

By Josh Albrecht

It takes a total of five minutes before the first laugh-out-loud moment in “Kung Pow! Enter the Fist” flashes onto the screen.

At that rate one can expect roughly 16 laugh-out-loud moments in the entire movie. But 77 minutes after that first big laugh, the audience (if it even made it that far) will still be waiting for the second one as the credits begin to roll, and not surprisingly, the laugh never comes.

The movie is based on “Tiger and Crane Fist,” which was made in Hong Kong in 1976. In fact, “Kung Pow!” (20th Century Fox, PG-13) is basically “Tiger and Crane Fist” with new actors placed into already existing scenes, accompanied by a completely different dialogue track dubbed over the movie a la old-martial-arts-movie style.

This concept was conceived and executed by Steve Oedekerk, who not only wrote the movie but decided to direct and star in it as well – oh wait, he helped produce it too. Note to all Hollywood executives: Never let anyone write, direct, produce and star in a movie again.

The movie opens with the Chosen One (Oedekerk) as a baby. Hiding from some evil force, Chosen One’s parents try to protect him, but finally evil comes in the form of Master Pain (Lung Fai). Pain (who gets his powers from the metal triangles attached to his chest) kills Chosen One’s parents but is unable to kill Chosen One, who beats up Pain and his henchmen (remember, Chosen One is a baby at this time) before escaping.

Years later, we catch up with Chosen One, who is walking, and sometimes driving, the Earth in search of the man who killed his parents. Eventually, he enlists the help of Master Tang, and he learns that he is the Chosen One because of Tonguey, his tongue that has eyes and a mouth.

The rest of the movie sees one bad scene after another, but the worst scene comes when Chosen One fights a cow for no reason. It is at this point in the movie when one realizes that the movie obviously got the green light during the actors’ strike scare a year ago.

Despite a few scenes that stir up a chuckle, the movie doesn’t have enough laughs to justify it being in theatres; direct-to-video release should have been stamped all over this one.

The most unfortunate thing about the movie is that it isn’t even so stupid that it is funny, it’s just plain stupid. Maybe the movie is trying to appeal to the “high school all-nighter, I drank too many Mountain Dews” audience, but it already has voice-overs making fun of the characters, leaving no room for the viewer to add in his or her own shots.

With the most special effects in film history, “Kung Pow!” proves that special effects don’t necessarily make a good movie. When movies begin using special effects for the purpose of allowing a man and a cow to have a kung fu fight with Matrix-style sequences, then perhaps an apex has occurred.

And with that, perhaps this movie’s lack of success will allow for more innovative/creative uses of digital effects to occur in the future – effects that never allow a talking tongue to exist again.