Nostalgia is a funny thing. Just as easily as it can help us appreciate a thing based solely on our own history with it, it can also blind us to the hard truth of the matter such as whether that thing is actually good or not. The quality of said thing then becomes solely in the eye of the beholder as only they can truly judge for themselves if it delivers the proper amount of nostalgia mixed with sentiment and skill needed to make us overlook any obvious shortcomings that arise as a result of trying to achieve such a particular vision. Kung Fury fully achieves its goal of paying homage to those so-bad-their-good movies of the 80’s and in the process introduces the world to a great new talent. Read the full review after the break.
The time? 1985. The place? Miami. The guy responsible for kicking crime’s ass? Kung Fury (David Sandberg). After losing his partner to a masked ninja and then bit by a snake shortly after being struck by lighting, Kung Fury is the guy you call in when there isn’t any other options. This time he is brought in to stop the time traveling criminal activities of Adolf Hitler who, aside from killing Fury’s police captain by shooting him through the phone (literally), is hatching an evil plan that will ensure everyone on Earth will die. Fury then sets out on a mission through time where he will encounter Nazis, laser dinosaurs, Nordic gods and evil transforming arcade machines as he hunts Hitler down to stop him once and for all.
This isn’t going to be so much a review as it is an endorsement from someone who grew up on all the same kung fu and cop action flicks of the 1980’s that clearly served as inspiration for at least some of Kung Fury. It’s almost impossible to nail down one, two or even three specific examples that helped influence writer/director/star David Sandberg’s ode to 80’s cheese, but that isn’t due to any failing of the final product. There is so much going on from second to second in Kung Fury that most won’t even care the first time around about any homages being made as the film is so full of energy it is near impossible to find time to think about anything other than what is currently on screen. It’s clear from the beginning that though this isn’t just an attempt to imitate or mimic certain films but is more of a concoction of different 80’s flavors mixed lovingly into a single cocktail for full nostalgic bliss.
Probably the most surprising thing about Kung Fury though has nothing to do with homages, special effects or humor (all of which are perfect), but just how well made it is over all. Originally supposed to be feature length, the lean runtime of 30 minutes doesn’t feel like a script that has been cut down to meet budget constraints. Instead the pacing feels perfect for the material and Sandberg, who is fun as the lead actor, shows a lot more promise behind the camera than in front of it. Make no mistake about it, no matter how you feel about the content, there is no denying the amount of skill at work when it comes to how the entire project came together. If you think this was easy to pull off just take one look at the film Iron Sky which also tried to make a throwback style movie about Nazis and Hitler but failed miserably.
If you fancy yourself a child of the 80’s and aren’t instantly turned off by something that is unceremoniously self aware and perhaps over the top to a fault, there is a good chance that Kung Fury was made just for you. Every single inch of every single frame is taken up with such imaginative nonsense that one has to wonder if Kung Fury isn’t the greatest throwback style movie of all time. The nostalgia is kicked into overdrive though when Kung Fury suddenly turns into an 80’s style cartoon that will leave us kids who grew up on Saturday morning cartoons yearning for more. Heck, even the poster for the film evokes those classic 80’s Drew Struzan posters for Raiders of the Lost Ark, Crocodile Dundee, Back to the Future and dozens of others.
Filled with all sorts of crazy characters (my personal favorite being Triceracop, a Triceratops that is a cop), outlandish action scenes that would make Jackie Chan do a double take (such as sustained single shot of Fury taking down an endless army of Hitler’s goons which concludes with him riding one like a skateboard) and a visual flair that is charming in all the ways those 80’s action pictures were bad, Kung Fury is fantastic fun from beginning to end that will have everyone who gives it a chance howling with laughter as you recall all those bad movies you caught on late night cable when you were too young to know any better. The best part though is that you can watch it now…for free! Grab a bowl of popcorn, simply watch the embedded video and get ready to have a blast like only the 1980’s can deliver.
See this movie. It is available on Youtube for free and is only 30 minutes long. But I guarantee that those will be some of the best 30 minutes you will spend on the internet this year, even if you don’t have the proper amount of nostalgia to fully appreciate everything that Sandberg has made here. Once again an unknown voice has emerged from the internet to show the more seasoned and over paid Hollywood big wigs that sometimes all you need is the passion and the skill to make something worthwhile. It may not be the feature length film Sandberg wanted to make but it sure as hell is better than most other so called feature length films out there right now.