Film review: Kung Pow: Enter the Fist

Published: Monday, Jan. 28 2002 5:01 p.m. MST

Frighteningly enough, the final scene of "Kung Pow: Enter the Fist" is actually a teaser for a sequel to this load of kung phooey.

It's unclear whether that footage is meant to be a joke or whether it's intended as a warning for moviegoers to avoid theaters for at least a couple of years; it may take that long for the stench of the first movie to drop to nontoxic levels.

Of course, the fact that this allegedly comedic martial-arts movie is such a bomb really comes as no surprise, considering that it's built on such a creaky premise to begin with. Writer/director/star Steve Oedekerk dubbed over footage from existing kung-fu movies, including the 1976 "Tiger & Crane Fists." Then he shot some new sequences and did some digital trickery to suit his own purposes.

His new "low-concept" plot revolves around the Chosen One, a lad born with an unusual body part — a sentient tongue that calls itself Tonguey. That power makes him the target of evil forces, including the powerful Master Pain.

As an infant, Chosen One barely escapes with his life, though both his parents are killed. So the orphaned fighter (now played by Oedekerk) spends the next few years immersing himself in combat training to take on his villainous nemesis. When the two finally meet up years later, Master Pain (now calling himself Betty) gets the best of him and looks unbeatable.

The rest of this thin plot is hardly worth going into; suffice it to say that Oedekerk's idea of comedy is his dubbing "funny" voices onto existing action footage.

Most of the time, this mess is about as much fun as being with a bunch of drunken frat boys who are talking back to a martial-arts film. Actually, it's even less amusing than that . . . unless one of the drunken frat boys is Oedekerk.

"Kung Pow: Enter the Fist" is rated PG-13 for martial-arts violence (including an unfunny, digital fight against a bovine opponent), crude humor involving bodily functions and sexual references, gore and brief use of profanity. Running time: 82 minutes.


E-MAIL: jeff@desnews.com

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