Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
Starring: Steve Oedekerk, Jennifer Tung, Tad Horino, Philip Tan, Leo Lee | Directed by: Steve Oedekerk | Produced by: Steve Oedekerk, Tom Koranda, Paul Marshal | Written by: Steve Oedekerk | Distributor: 20th Century Fox
A parody on Martial Arts films could be funny. The gracefulness of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” replaced with pure klutziness, could provide fodder for the funnybone. The endless list of martial arts moves in “Iron Monkey” certainly begs for an entertaining laugh. I can still remember the first “Godzilla” film and my observation of the badly dubbed English dialogue. How could you miss it—often the vocals did not even come close to matching the movement of the actor’s mouths.
Director, Steve Oedekerk, certainly has plenty of material to draw from, and he’s no stranger to the comedy genre. His directing credits include “The Nutty Professor” and “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.”
In “Kung Pow”, Steve not only puts his reputation as a director on the line, but as an actor as well. It’s too bad that this film is so bad! If that was Steve’s aspiration, then he succeeded. While I didn’t place it at the top of my list for “worst film I’ve ever seen,” it certainly is in my top five.
You just know a film is in trouble when only 3% of the national film critics liked “Kung Pow”. Many reputable critics, like Roger Ebert, didn’t even bother giving it a review. Who can blame him?
Mr. Oedekerk has dubbed himself into a 1976 film called “Tiger and Crane Fists”. His character is “The Chosen One.” We witness the murder of his young parents when he is just a baby. The Chosen One then embarks on a quest to find the evil villain “Master Pain” (Lung Fai). The unique “Tonguey” assists the Chosen One on his journey, finding himself always under attack because of his “chosen” status. (Poor guy). Will The Chosen One be able to find Master Pain—will he find the strength and the moves to defeat his opponent—will Steve really make a sequel to this terrible film?
The difficult part of seeing this flic was getting the motivation to even give it a review. Some teens may be tempted to give this a shot after seeing the cute trailer. It’s obvious that there is yet another “Matrix” spoof present (during a battle with a cow). The trailers also showed The Chosen One punching a perfect hole out of the center of a victim. But if you’ve seen these scenes, you’ve already seen the best parts of the film.
My extremely strong advise is to skip this loser. It certainly earns the PG-13 rating and I would not send my unsuspecting teen to this one. The sexual innuendos have Master Pain preferring to be called “Betty” while, in another scene, a group of students chant while practicing their moves: “Our sexual preferences are our own business.” There is plenty of blood, profanity, offensive expletives, more sexual innuendos, and a woman that repeatedly flashes our hero. Much of this is filtered through Steve’s idea of a comedy, but I’m not laughing.
Most of the material in this film… I found “udderly” (pun intended) ridiculous.