kung fury

Director: David Sandberg

Genre: Action, Parody

Release: 2015

There’s a bizarre fascination currently floating around popular culture based on a misinterpretation of the ’80s—that everything was lazers, Conan the Barbarian, and Thunderbirds. This notion seems to come primarily from people who were, at best, a sperm in their father’s nutsack for the entirety of the decade. Even for fans of movies like BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA and LAST ACTION HERO, this will most likely feel like being forced to inject Pixie Stix directly into your eyeballs. KUNG FURY wants to parody every trope of ’80s action movies so badly that it doesn’t parody any of them well. It turns out $630,000 isn’t enough money to do any action well, so most of the jokes are one or two clearly fake shots before awkwardly moving on. Nothing actually looks good; it just communicates an idea and expects that to be funny enough. It’s trying to be a cartoon while being limited to low-budget live action, meaning that it doesn’t have the freedom to do anything like animation does.

KUNG FURY is best described as a ketamine-laced Jolly Rancher enema from the late ’80s, forgotten about until the unfortunate viewer accidentally sits on it today and is forced into a thoroughly traumatic experience they neither wanted nor needed. KUNG FURY is the worst result of internet meme culture and internet fetish nostalgia, and is the fundamental result of giving a five-minute YouTube video idea over half a million dollars in budget. What could and should have been an instantly forgotten internet sensation is now taking up valuable space on Netflix that otherwise could still be hosting the Scream franchise. Instead, enjoy terrible CGI of vikings riding dinosaurs, because Netflix gets to piss on your face and tell you it’s raining lemonade.

There’s a whole discussion to be had about why some kinds of humor are way more effective in animation than in live action, but that’s a subject for an entirely different article. What really has to be addressed about KUNG FURY is its disturbing popularity. Most of the time, this would be the kind of trivial project not even worth commenting on, but the fact that it’s already spawned a video game and that people are throwing away their money to buy the ridiculous jacket from the movie makes it unsettling. The Kickstarter for it raised 315% of its goal. Clearly this is something (some of) the people really wanted. Is this really what we’re all going to have to accept as content from now on? We get to be assaulted with nonsensical cardboard cutouts called characters and are expected to be amused by them? We get gags that are so obvious and predictable they never produce so much as a chuckle and then we rave about it on social media? It’s perfectly fine to like KUNG FURY, but all the memes anyone could ever desire are available for free on the internet all the time; there’s no need to throw money at one just so it can beat itself to death until it’s no longer funny. Furthermore, it’s an aggressive insult to the art of the greater short film genre, its ridiculous popularity setting the standard for what people expect from 30-minute films. Much like an accidental Jolly Rancher enema, let’s all learn our lesson here and try to suppress KUNG FURY like it never happened.

Verdict: Do Not Recommend

Carter Moon grew up in the desolate Evangelic capital of the world and responded by developing a taste in counter culture, which eventually bloomed into a love for filmmaking and screenwriting. Carter has average opinions on most things, but will defend them adamantly and loudly until no one else wants to bother speaking up. He runs Crossfader's podcast, IN THE CROSSHAIRS.

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