“Kung Fury” is so bad it’s good. It is a Swedish Martial Arts film that is also short and if you have seen any 80’s cop films or 80’s B Movies you can tell where the inspiration and writing is drawn from. I’m would not call this film great, I do think it depends too much on the cliches and tropes, but even within all of that the characters and execution of things are distinct in their own right. It also has a really awesome theme song.
The story behind it is pretty cool as it was a Kickstarter project that made it big and actually said what it was going to do when it exceeded it’s money goal of 630,019 U.S. Dollars. That is something great and the folks behind it where clearly passionate about creating this project.
The film was directed, written by David Sandberg, who also starred in it. The producers were Linus Andersson and Eleni Young Antonia.
The story takes place in 1985 and follows the exploits of Kung Fury, a cop who is the Chosen One and Master of Kung Fu after his partner (who is like family to him) is killed by a Ninja and he is struck by lightning and bit by a cobra. From here he is asked to take leave from the Police department after he refuses to work his partner Triceracop but is pulled back in after a Time Traveling Hitler “Kung Führer” shoots up the police department to kill Kung Fury since he wants to be the Chosen One. From here Kung Fury must travel back in time to Nazi Germany defeat Hitler, but things don’t go as planned.
The Pros: The Action – The action is really tacky and great. Limps fly off, electricity destroys bodies and Kung Fury does actual Kung Fu to defeat his enemies.
The Cinematography – There is a lot of greenscreen since this film was built on Kickstarter but even with their limited affects they do a great job and they recreate the 80’s B Movie feel really well, which is why I am making it a plus. It knows exactly what it wants to be and does it.
The Soundtrack – Mitch Murder and Lost Years did a great job on the soundtrack as it is full of 80’s synth rock and the theme song is sung by David Hasselhoff. It is a really catchy song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTidn2dBYbY
The Ideas and Tropes – Viking Women who ride dinosaurs, Thor who is obsessed with his muscles, Hitler who does Kung Fu, Triceracop and all the Chosen One cliches…this is what makes the movie work though there really aren’t any memorable characters. It kicks off with the most common cop cliche and it is hilarious as his partner is like family to him and right after they have a heart to heart he is killed. We also see Hackerman resurrect Kung Fury when Fury is transported to Heaven which is an 80’s cartoon but comes back when he accuses his spirit animal of obstructing justice by not letting him return to life. Also there are Laser Raptors.
Mocking and Celebrating Cliches – His partner is killed which makes him a cop with a chip on his shoulder unable to trust until his friends come through to rescue him. Contrived circumstances make him the Chosen One. Nazi bad guys and Ninjas all over the place, also Vikings and Dinosaurs which are too very overused tropes from this era and in general. All of these were celebrated and critiqued in the process.
The Cons: Execution of Story – The film is a short film (only 30 minutes long) and because of this we know nothing about the characters. I put the tropes down as a plus but I still need character development, even in a comedy. I blame this mostly on the time constraints but this is still a con and keeps it from being “So bad it’s great.”
Sequelitis – The film is setup at the end where Hitler survives getting crushed by Thor after he joins Kung Fury in the fight against Nazi Germany. This was clearly to setup a sequel, which I’d be surprised if it happened. The film could have been a great stand alone without Hitler surviving and swearing revenge.
If you like comedies, 80’s films, Kung Fu films and deconstruction and celebration of tropes, check out this film! It is short and really enjoyable. It knows what it wanted to do and it did it. You won’t get to know the characters all that well, but you will still most likely have a very enjoyable experience.
Final Score: 8 / 10