Director: David Sandberg
Lampray/Laser Unicorn/Salmon Fox
If, as people are saying, Mad Max: Fury Road is a movie WITH CAPS-LOCK ON then Kung Fury is a Movie! It’s all italics and exclamation point! Every! Step! Of! The! Way! For this absurd blast through every 80s cop/action trope is, at 31 minutes, both a montage in and of itself and(!) it’s (enough of) the full 90-minute experience.
We’re talking about a film so full of parody and self-awareness that it essentially invokes Godwin’s law on itself as our titular hero, blessed with super-cool Kung Fu moves and all of the baggage of seeing his cop-partner killed travels back in time from 1985 to battle a Kung Fu-savvy Hitler.
On the way and around and about there’s an animated dream sequence and a visual feast of steals and evocations – we’re not just talking Miami Vice/Knight Rider here…we go deep. We’re all the way in Big Trouble In Little China and Toxic Avenger and Evil Dead here. But we’re also (almost) in They Live too. Certainly Hell Comes To Frogtown. And in fact as the scenes-within-scenes and moments-within-moments pile up you can start to name almost any film from the 80s – revenge fantasy, cops, martial arts, action – you like. There are the Schwarzenegger/Roddy Piper-bad catchphrases and quotes, and everything hurtles by inside some video-game world.
Kung Fury is parody of course – made with Kickstarter funding, as short-film gimmick by Swedish visual effects artist and music video director David Sandberg (who also stars as the main character). And if you didn’t know it was parody before you climbed aboard somewhere between a dinosaur-faced police-officer (Triceracop), the aforementioned Kung Fuhrer, mutant Vikings, time travel, David Hasselhoff cameo and ACTION! you will get the gist.
This is the elaborate party-prank where a guy with a Canon EOS 5D films his friends in and around his office and then pulls off super kick-ass CGI stuff to place them in a Tron-like, Feldman-esque 80s. Chucking in a few fake VHS tape warps for shits and giggles.
Equal parts technical wizardry and guilty-pleasure film-buff absurdity this is IRONY! and SINCERITY! writ-fucking-large! THAT’S LARGE, MAN!
It’s the very best and worst of fan-passion, net-pranking and geek-culture colliding. And perhaps the shining light is Jörgen Elofsson and Johnan Bengtsson’s Moroder-meets-Carpenter score. A lovely, loving parody/pastiche in and of itself (replete with a brand new Hasselhoff musical performance which can work as standalone). Bengtsson is the bassist for The Sounds, a pretty decent alt/new wave-referencing band from a time when a great glut of Swedish acts broke through. Elofsson has pop-song credits for any number of chart atrocity you care to name: from Britney, Celine Deion, Westlife, Geri Halliwell and Steps in the late 90s/early 2000s to Kelly Clarkson, Il Divo, Paloma Faith and fucking Jedward more recently. Their soundtrack is its own masterpiece.
But return to that, first watch the full film here.