‘Kung Fury’ Review: The 80s Movie We Deserve

Posted in The Screening Room by - June 01, 2015

I first heard about Kung Fury about a year ago during its Kickstarter run when the insane trailer was released. As a huge fan of ridiculous action movies and 80s synthesizers I was immediately hooked. A Kung-Fu master/cop who fights Nazis? Yes, please! The past several years have seen a renaissance of the 80s action genre, in most pop culture mediums. The Expendables trilogy is probably the most glaring silver screen example of the infusion of old-school machismo and over the top violence back into our daily lives. Other releases like Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (which is basically Kung Fury the game) and Hotline Miami (which has the 80s sound perfected) have shown there’s an appetite for this nostalgic ridiculousness that needs to be whetted. 

Taking note of that, Swedish filmmaker David Sandberg (Kung Fury himself, who sort of resembles a younger Johnny Depp), spent about $5,000 producing the initial trailer before turning to Kickstarter to raise his intended goal of $200,000 to complete the film. He ended up raising over $600,000 and crushed his goal. Thanks to the backers, he has provided us with one of the greatest films the 1980s that was actually created in the 2010s. 

With “so bad it’s good” dialogue and insane actions sequences, Kung Fury is a thrill ride that doesn’t stop. With a runtime of about 30 minutes, we have 0 time for character development but all the time needed for ass kicking. The opening sequence involves Kung Fury jumping off a skyscraper, shooting his car doors open (he drives a Lamborghini, of course) and landing into it unscathed. If that doesn’t get you excited a little, I can’t help you. The film embraces its absurdity, with characters like Triceracop (as played by Triceratops, according to the credits) and the greatest hacker ever, Hackerman, who hacks time. Featuring a Kung-Fu obsessed Hitler AKA Kung Fuhrer as the main villain, the film hits you in the face over and over with its influences. The movie is filmed with special techniques to give it a worn feeling, reminiscent of VHS films, and its liberal use of CGI bring the streets of 1980 something Miami to life with the backdrop of Sweden (where Kung Fury was actually shot). They even have a David Hasselhoff cameo, and he did the music video for the film as well. 

Kung Fury brings back all the insanity of old school action moves to the forefront and embraces its roots wholeheartedly. As someone who grew up loving Schwarzenegger, Stallone, and Segal films, among the multitude of other older action stars, Kung Fury reminded me of all that was amazing about that time period. While the film leaves an opening for a sequel, I’m hoping the biggest impact is on the future of pop culture. While I’m not asking for filmmakers to go backwards in their progressions, I am hoping that we, as a collective, embrace our pop culture roots and the insane things that helped us get to where we are now. An homage every now and then will be much appreciated. As objective as you can be, watching a film, Kung Fury is awful. The dialogue is terrible and the effects are questionable, at best. Yet, it captures a spirit so far removed than what we have seen recently, that I loved every second of it. 

Want to get your 80s on? The movie is free on YouTube right now.

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He's a native Texan (YEE-HAW) who loves everything Michael Bay has ever touched. When he's not blogging, he's working on his mobile app, BoxHopp, or tinkering with his fantasy football lineups.
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