Director: David Sandberg
Starring: David Hasselhoff, David Sandberg, Jorma Taccone, Andreas Cahling
A lot of movies, shorts and video games nowadays have followed the trend in paying tribute to the over-the-top entertainment and gratuitous neon lights of the 1980s. ‘Kung Fury’ takes time to note, make fun of, and pay homage to many things, while not taking itself seriously or over playing the idea. This short film seamlessly strings them all together with ease and nothing feels out of place, which is exceedingly odd, since it jumps from early internet references to some of the early Anime imported to America. The result is one of the funnier 80s tributes to come out since ‘Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon’.
When an arcade machine starts a killer rampage around a generic city, the local police department calls on their most dangerous cop to handle it, Kung Fury. A quick clip montage ensues and Fury quits the police force. This is where it gets really strange, as Fury explains how he’s fulfilling a prophecy in order to defeat Adolph Hitler from taking over the world, going on a journey through time to recruit people in order to defeat the Nazis.
With all the oddities they press into 30 minutes here, they do a good job in blending them all together without making the audience feel overwhelmed or confused when they switch between styles or genres. There was one scene which jumped from a real life perspective, then smoothly transitions into a video game pixelated style before brightly switching to a 1980s cartoon design. It leaves the impression that they wanted to blend each scene together and do so with ease, made possible by all the CGI they have in the film. I usually hate CGI, but its use here really fit the style they were going for and there wouldn’t have been that many ways they could include all the things they did without it.
On a more negative note, all the acting is canned and really forced. There is still some good comedic timing, but some of the anti-humour began to grind on me after a while; there’s a difference between being ironic and annoying, and it really does ride that line a lot. There are many points where no one really outshines anyone else because it’s all the same level of intentionally bad acting, with the only actor to delivered an actual performance of substance being Jorma Taccone. His performance found some originality and real character, whilst everyone else seemed to be relying on the stereotypes of their genre and 80s clichés.
As for a comedy, ‘Kung Fury’ excels in non sequiturs, coupled with anacoluthons, mild dark comedy, and various forms of surrealism mixed into topical references. They come at a steady pace so you won’t miss them, unless you really aren’t paying attention. It leaves the impression of being a badly written Saturday morning cartoon, but has all the ironic charm to convey the smarmy underlying warmth of a decent piece of satire. It’s only 30 minutes long, but it’s worth viewing a few times to appreciate the attention to detail and an array of fun action scenes.