While the following formula might not work for everyone, I performed a controlled and detailed experiment to discover the math behind whether or not you will enjoy Kung Fury. I watched the movie with three people, each born five years apart; person “A” was born in 1985, person “B”, in 1990, and finally, person “C” in 1995. Using a simple two dimensional graph I discovered that the amount of pleasure experienced while watching the movie dropped significantly the closer one got to 1995, culminating in a “what the hell am I watching” score of zero. However, if you find yourself closer to person “A” on the graph, you’re going to love this movie.
Which is kind of obvious when you think about it. Despite the recent trend of 90s nostalgia- one only has to walk around downtown Toronto and see the overwhelming amount of 17-year-olds rocking grunge influenced plaid, ripped jeans, and Nirvana t-shirts- there’s been a big revival in retro 80s themed media. More than likely because those 17-year-olds all have older brothers and sisters who lived through the 90s and remember how lame it was. The 80s are really where it’s at, and those same older brothers and sisters are the ones out there making games like Far Cry: Blood Dragon and TV shows like season 2 of the maniacal Australian spy spoof Danger 5, the latter of which shares a lot of similarities with Kung Fury.
But hey, if you grew up watching movies laced with heavy synth soundtracks, plenty of cheesy one-liners, and an overwhelming fetish for Miami and California, Kung Fury might be right for you.
Without getting into spoiler territory (not that it really matters for a film that’s essentially a 30-minute attempt to cram in as many references as possible rather than focus on crafting a deep plot and cerebral narrative) Kung Fury follows a super-powered cop who, thanks to being struck by lightning WHILE being bit by a cobra, becomes the long-prophesized Kung Fury, a master of the ultimate martial art. After leaving the force during a disagreement with his balding, hoarse-voiced and constantly smoking Chief of Police, the titular hero is forced to do battle with a time traveling Adolf Hitler out to steal his powers and become the Kung Fuhrer. Add in some scantily clad and machine gun toting barbarian babes, a nerdy sidekick technology guru who can “hack away” bullet wounds, and a guest appearance from the god of thunder himself, Thor, and there’s your movie.
It would be pretty simple to just take all these characters, toss them into a low-budget production with some lame special effects and call it a day, but the team behind Kung Fury go the extra mile in almost every respect. The movie is absolutely teeming with callbacks to the era of pastel and arcades. The gritty voiced, take-no-shit Caucasian martial arts master of a protagonist, David Hasslehoff voicing the talking Lamborghini that’s a mash-up of K.I.T.T. crossed with HAL9000, and the aforementioned hacker sidekick who at one point uses a freakin Nintendo Powerglove to hack our hero “thousands of years” back in time to the era of Vikings and Laser Raptors. If even that isn’t enough to tickle your retro bones, there are times during the chaos when VHS style tracking errors warp the screen that almost cause you to get up out of your seat to smack the VCR…until you remember you’re watching it on a laptop.
The icing on the cake comes with the absolutely incredible soundtrack composed by Swedish born artist Mitch Murder. Each track is labeled after it’s corresponding scene in the movie, showcasing titles like “Face Puncher” and “Power Move” to name a few. Add in one or two required hair metal tracks like Christoffer Ling’s “Barbarianna” to round out the selection and there’s enough here to keep the fun going.
At only 30 minutes long, the film is short enough to not overstay its welcome; as much fun as it is I feel that a full-length Kung Fury would get a little grating after a while. There’s only so much radical epicness a person can take. The producers found an ideal length that hits its highs at the right point and leaves you with a general feeling of “that was awesome” without losing its charm and fun. The movie is free and can be viewed in full on YouTube and the Kung Fury website. If you grew up with G.I. Joe, Karate Kid and Lethal Weapon you will enjoy the hell out of this flick.