Director: David Sandberg
Writer: David Sandberg
Stars: David Sandberg, Jorma Taccone, Steven Chew
I’m going to start by saying this isn’t my usual fare in terms of films I both review and/or watch. I’ve reviewed all sorts of genres, including Oscar winning feature films, but never have I came across the absolute random craziness that dwells within Kung Fury. It’s a mere 31 minutes long and only came into existence following an appeal on Kickstarter. An appeal which was duly answered with £600k from intrigued and excited donators.
What David Sandberg has accomplished with this film on a relatively shoestring budget is incredibly impressive. The fact he was completely broke financially, having to sell his couch and TV to make ends meet, when he went all in to have it produced is even more impressive. Incidentally, Sandberg got his hands dirty during Kung Fury’s production, directing the film, writing its script and playing the lead role too. That’s the definition of multi-tasking right there and the passion is palpable in every facet of this project.
Now, if you do decide to jump onto YouTube and watch this absolute gem of a film (and you absolutely should) then do bare in mind that it’s probably not for everyone. It’s a proudly niche film that both spoofs and pays homage, in equal measures, to the often corny, American action movies of the 1980s. It’s got the ridiculous one liners, mostly delivered by the Johnny Depp, tortured love child, lookalike, Kung Fury himself, supplemented with intentionally unrealistic, death defying stunts and improbable violence. All of this bought to life via green screen, probably in a garage (George Lucas would be proud), with added 80s style VHS aging effects.
The story is oddly engrossing, ridiculous, incredibly fun, bat shit crazy and if I can then I’ll try not to completely spoil it. Basically, Kung Fury gets struck with lightning, bitten by a Cobra and this transforms him into the worlds most gifted martial artist. Still vengeful after witnessing the horrific death of his beloved partner moments before (Fury’s a roguish cop), he decides to head back in time to Nazi Germany for a showdown with the ‘Kung Führer’ himself, Adolf Hitler (Jorma Taccone). Yes, Hitler is the maim villain and if that summary isn’t enough to entice you then you have no soul.
Over the course of this journey, which is made possible by a Nintendo Power Glove wielding, 80s pseudo-tech nerd, ‘Hacker man’ (Leopold Nissan), Kung accidentally heads back to the Middle Ages, which prompts this classic encounter, “Which year is this?” “It’s the Viking age.” “Fuck, that explains the laser raptor. We went too far back in time”. Yeah, there’s laser raptors (??) and so much more. Shortly afterwards, Thor also pays a visit to a world which resembles Conan the Barbarian’s, just because he can, completing Fury’s trip back to the 1940s. Did I mention his new partner is a bipedal, dinosaur with a British accent aptly called Triceracop? Or that David Hasselhoff makes a cameo? I have now.
Kung Fury somehow manages to pack more action into its half an hour running time than most feature films can manage. Which by the way, reminds me that it’s getting a feature film makeover. I’ll be keeping an eye on that with some intrigue.
Sure the vast majority of the fighting and action sequences are bursting at the seams with comedic exuberance, but that’s all deliberate and it doesn’t hinder them in any way. The combination of both the talented Sandberg and stunt stand-ins help in delivering some pretty slick, lightning quick action, which at times resembles the side scrolling nature of the classic arcade fighting games. There’s car flips, high speed, mid-air manoeuvring, over the top violence that would make Robo Cop blush (think exploding heads and worse) and even a science defying trip to outer space to contend with. Most of which occurs in the opening couple of minutes alone.
You’ll have probably gathered with my pathetic gushing that this one is getting recommended. I think what Sandberg has accomplished here should be applauded. He’s captured the soul of the 80s b-movie genre perfectly, complete with an appropriate synth heavy score and I could have filled this review with the one liners alone. It’s a brilliant little short film and it fully deserves a viewing. Though, given the near 30 million views it’s already had, I’m probably preaching to the choir with this one. Unless you have no soul, in which case, bloody find one.