KUNG FURY (UK CERT: UNRATED)
Director: David Sandberg
Music: Mitch Murder, Lost Years
Starring: David Sandberg, Jorma Taccone
REVIEW AUTHOR: Rob Stoakes
If you’re an 80’s style film, then 2015 has been your year. We’ve had John Wick, Mad Max: Fury Road… even Inherent Vice, a film set in 1970, looked like every character was about to break out VHS’s and talk about Duran Duran. Given that, it’s surprisingly rare how few comedies there are in that mix. Zombeavers has a few chuckles at the ridiculous nature of it and there’s the upcoming Dude Bro Party Massacre 3, but overall the comedy drought is surprising.
Kung Fury, a little 30-minute crowd funded mini-movie, hopes to fill that void. Despite being shorter than a TV pilot and being created by rookies to the craft, it’s been making huge waves on the internet, with a hugely popular trailer and David Hasselhoff releasing a single to tie into the film, and now that the wait is over it has been released in its entirety to Youtube for free. But the question is, does it actually hold up?
Well, it certainly holds up visually. The film is almost entirely CG; even a simple office is green-screened. It’s completely unconvincing, but the film manages to make that cheesy unreality work to its advantage, allowing you to sink into the cartoony physics of the film. The backgrounds are pretty and the various monsters and robots that populate the film move fluently and have great comedic timing, which in a comedy is far more important than actually looking real.
This is a comedy without actual jokes. The humour comes from the absurdity of the situations, ranging from minigun toting Vikings fighting laser dinosaurs, to Nazis arguing over the qualities of their toothbrush moustaches, to the knowingly awful action cliché one-liners Kung Fury himself makes. While not a criticism, I have to mention that this comedy is targeted straight to nerds and fans of the weird, so if you are interested in Kung Fury then I’d recommend reading up on your 80’s geek culture. The references range from Robocop to Conan the Barbarian to Hackers and everything in between, and there’s more 80’s cheese in this film than a Miami diary.
What is a criticism is the ending. The plot itself acts more as a joke delivery system than an actual story. However, the ending is just the beginning of the film again but with most of the jokes taken out to tease a sequel as an extended mocking at video game movies like Super Mario Bros or Mortal Kombat that also had these sequel stings; it’s the only joke that I’d say falls flat, but it takes three entire minutes to fall flat and falls with the weight and speed of a granite elephant jumping out of a jet.
The soundtrack is one of the film’s stronger points, from the synth-pop you’d expect a film like this to be swimming in to the little character stings that act both as funny jokes in their own right and actually pretty good tunes. Also a strong point is the acting; while some of the performers struggle to hide their Swedish accents, David Sandberg completely loses himself in the role of Kung Fury, and there’s more than a little John Cleese in Jorma Taccone’s effectively cheesy Hitler.
Overall, Kung Fury is an extremely funny film… if you’re the kind of person who thinks that the Metroid video game would make for a fantastic Filmmation cartoon. In terms of 80’s throwbacks, it’s not quite Hobo With A Shotgun, but it’s certainly well worth your time, especially seeing as it’s all free online. If you don’t know your ZX Spectrums from your Commodores, however, then this mini-movie probably won’t convert you.