If you were 12 years old and your pal the computer whiz digitized chunks of a '70s chop-socky picture and then redubbed the dialogue with funny voices (don't forget to make the big bruiser lisp!), odds are you'd find the result pretty darn funny. And if your friend actually managed to insert new images into the old footage say, a high-kicking baby, a tongue with a face, a computer-animated cow possessed of lethal martial arts moves or a total babe with one boob in the middle of her chest you'd probably just about pee your pants. That juvenile impulse drives this feature-length film, which appropriates footage from 1976's Tiger & Crane Fists, starring early Hong Kong action hero Jimmy Wang Yu (he gave a hand to the young Jackie Chan), then adds new dialogue, pumps up the martial action to preposterous levels and, through the magic of digital effects technology, places writer-director-producer-star Steve Oedekerk in the thick of the action. The badly bewigged Oedekerk plays a wandering martial artist called The Chosen One. When he was just an infant, his family was murdered by the evil Master Pain (Lung Fai), who wields the lethal "iron claw." The Chosen One (did I mention that he has a face on his tongue?) appeals to teacher Master Tang (Chen Hui Lou) for help, and while studying the crane style of martial arts falls in love with shy Ling (Tse Ling Ling). Then Master Pain marches into town with his minions, announces he's changed his name to Betty, and wows everyone with his ability to stand still while guys vigorously whomp him in the 'nads with a stick. Can the Chosen One prevail? Oedekerk whose lowbrow comedy writing credits include spoofs of popular films enacted by a cast of thumbs was probably inspired by the "Fistful of Yen" parody that is by consensus the highlight of 1977's KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE. But his film is obvious and, frankly, 25 years too late: Mocking kung fu pictures when they were a staple of exploitation theater programming was witty. Mocking them now is an exercise in pointlessness, unless you're capable of an overhaul à la Woody Allen's transformation of Japanese spy thriller Kagi no Kagi into the loopy WHAT'S UP, TIGER LILY? (1966). Suffice it to say that Oedekerk is no Allen, and KUNG POW is no TIGER LILY.
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- Released: 2002
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: If you were 12 years old and your pal the computer whiz digitized chunks of a '70s chop-socky picture and then redubbed the dialogue with funny voices (don't forget to make the big bruiser lisp!), odds are you'd find the result pretty darn funny. And if yo… (more)
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