KUNG POW: ENTER THE FIST (THE CHOSEN EDITION)
Reviewed August 20th, 2002 by Patrick Mohan
When I first heard about Kung Pow, I was not really sure it was something I’d enjoy. After watching the movie, I thought that the concept of dubbing over most of an old movie and inserting a few additional scenes was brilliant. Unfortunately, I later found out that Woody Allen had already been down the dubbing road earlier in cinematic history and some say it was done better the first time. While I have not seen Allen’s What’s Up Tiger Lilly?, I was surprised at how much I laughed during Kung Pow: Enter the Fist.
The film’s story line is similar to many kung-fu/martial arts of the last 70’s. Steve Oedekerk plays The Chosen One. His family was killed when he was a child, but he escaped and did not suffer the same fate. The movie tells the story of his quest for revenge. While I could reveal more of the characters in the movie and their relation to Oedekerk, I really think it would ruin some of the movie’s greatest laughs. I will say that Oedekerk’s sense of humor shines with his overdubbing of this 1976 kung-fu movie (Tiger and Crane Fist) with voices that many of the dojo masters would not approve of. Many people say that most of the movie’s funniest parts were shown in the trailer, but I highly disagree. In my honest opinion, most of the movie’s humor lies within what was not included in the movie’s promotion.
How do you rate the audio of a movie that is supposed to be a kung-fu movie from almost 30 years ago? Well, the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track really showcases Oedekerk’s insane voiceovers. The dialogue comes over great and you really gain an appreciation for the hilarious dialogue that Oedekerk has created, since he provides the voice for almost every character in the movie.
Again, with the mix of new and old material, I really have to give Oedekerk credit. The film is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The older kung-fu scenes look crisp, but still maintain their vintage characteristics and the newer scenes have been added in a way that does not really challenge the older material’s authenticity.
While some DVD titles claim to be the “Deluxe” or “Platinum” edition, the title of “The Chosen Edition” definitely holds true for this DVD.
The film’s commentary track gives the viewer the best of both worlds. Oedekerk and Paul Marshal, editor and producer, combine humor with some interesting insight into the effects that made this film possible. There are also two interesting audio tracks that are nice little add-ons. The first track is the original audio from Tiger and Crane Fist that was dubbed over. The other audio track is a strange one. It is the audio that Oedekerk and company actually said during the filming of the movie. It too was eventually removed from the film and the audio that is in the movie was put in its place.
It’s obvious that Oedekerk wanted to make this DVD a memorable one because he included an incredible amount of material that was cut from the flick. While not all of them are hilarious, it’s a great opportunity to see what else Oedekerk had in store for this movie. There are also six scenes with alternate dialogue.
Other extra material on the DVD includes a Photo Gallery, a behind the scenes featurettes, and trailers for Kung Pow and Super Troopers. The last extra that I really enjoyed dealt with the special effects related to the movie’s Cow or as I call him, “Kung Kow”. The disc also contains a few Easter eggs, but those are better left untold.
Kung Pow was a movie that surprised me because I had set my expectations low, but was pretty impressed after watching it. Although Steve Oedekerk might not have been the first one to experiment with overdubbing older movies, I really think that his take on it was hysterically funny. I will admit that I was in pain from laughing so hard during this movie.
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