Welcome to the JOE-DOWN, a back-and-forth movie review blog by two snarky newspapermen named Joe from Minnesota, Joe Froemming and Joe Brown. We will take turns selecting a movie — any movie we want — and review it here. For this installment, Brown picked “Kung Fury.”
The Movie: “Kung Fury”
Starring: David Sandberg, Jorma Taccone, Steven Chew
Director: David Sandberg
Plot Summary: (From IMDB) In 1985, Kung Fury, the toughest martial artist cop in Miami, goes back in time to kill the worst criminal of all time – Kung Führer, a.k.a Adolf Hitler
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86 percent (audience score)
Brown: Thank God I don’t have to wonder what a jellicle is this week.
After watching a movie that spawned many bizarre sexual awakenings in “Cats,” I figured it was a good time to watch another movie that took place entirely on green screen.
Thankfully, there’s only one anthropomorphic character in this week’s pick: “Kung Fury.”
This movie (if you can call it that, being 30 minutes long and all) popped up on Netflix a long time ago. I never got around to it, but I liked the name. Then, I saw it pop up on YouTube about eight months ago and had my mind blown by this love letter to ‘80s action flicks.
It’s a genre we know well here in the JOE-DOWN. Also, any movie that sees Nazis meet their grizzly demise gets the thumbs up from us Joes.
And after a week where we had to watch an actual insurrection happen on American soil… yeah, we needed this lizard brain viewing.
So while I recover from being struck by lightning and being bit by a cobra at the same time, give me your first thoughts, Froemming.
Froemming: There are two elements of this movie I wish all the movies we reviewed for The JOE-DOWN had.
- Being only a half-hour.
I had never heard of this until Brown picked it. It feels like one of those YouTube videos I watch that show all the cutscenes from a video game, saving me from the effort of having to actually play through the damn things.
And yes, it is always great seeing Nazis get killed. Because fuck Nazis.
Anyway, while I figure out how to replace you on The JOE-DOWN with Triceracop, why don’t you kick this off!
Brown: If Triceracop’s real name was Joe, you’d be there, man. And I would completely understand.
We open up on Miami in 1985, which is all neon and on fire. It’s a crime-ridden and stinky place where literally everyone carries an uzi and punk skateboarders flip cop cars with said skateboards.
It’s basically every Democrat-run city in the mind of congressman Matt Gaetz.
Froemming: This feels like it is in the John Wick universe.
Brown: That’s a fitting comment since we go to an arcade (where I assume they have tokens). There, an arcade cabinet tells the player “(REDACTED) you” and comes to life with guns for hands. I would be terrified if “Burger Time” told me to piss up a rope.
So now we have an angry arcade game destroying
Vice City Miami. There’s only one man who can save the day: Kung Fury. While the city is being destroyed, he’s at his apartment with his lady, and our hero’s first line is, as his lady strokes his arm, “Yep, that’s my bicep.”
I always laugh at that. I’m going to break that out on a date sometime. I doubt she’ll be a “Kung Fury” fan. Then again, in high school, I took a girl on a Valentine’s Day date to “Kung Pow: Enter the Fist.”
Froemming: Kung Fury rushes to the action in his sweet, sweet ride and the VHS tracking goes all out of whack, which reminded me of why I hated that format for movies. You kids today have it too good with your 4Ks, and your Dan Fogelberg and your Pac-Man video games!
Brown: This fight scene takes place on top of a car, on a helicopter and in space. And it ends with a one-liner. Frankly, describing this scene makes you sound like Brick Tamland.
Froemming: We then get an origin story for Kung Fury, which is only a few minutes. Take a note, Peter Jackson, people don’t need nine hours of Hobbit movies to tell a tale. You jackass.
While confronting a ninja with his partner, Dragon, in the early 80s, Kung Fury watches his fellow cop get cut down in his prime. Cut down the middle, as he is chopped in half. Kung Fury is then struck by lightning while being bitten by a cobra (which is way cooler than what happened to Spider-Man), he becomes the world’ greatest kung fu expert!
This movie was co-written and co-directed by cocaine.
Brown: I feel like Kung Fury and any Highlander have a similar origin story. Also, I’m real uncomfortable with the ninja master that kills Kung Fury’s partner being white. Even Swedes can’t avoid whitewashing roles.
Granted, it only happens twice in this movie, but I love how bad and deadpan Kung Fury is at one-liners.
Froemming: We then cut to the wild credits, where we find famous superstar Triceratop plays the best character in the movie, Triceracop!
Brown: Without context, Triceracop gets second billing in this movie…
Froemming: I also want to add that the soundtrack to this is (REDACTED) amazing in its recreation of bad, synth-wave 80s music.
I also want to point out the soundtrack is 47-minutes long, roughly 16-minutes longer than the movie.
Brown: Corny synth music will always worm its way into my heart.
So Kung Fury is getting chewed out for the collateral damage that took place in defeating the arcade machine, so the police chief wants Kung Fury to work with a partner: Triceracop. However, Kung Fury works alone and ends up throwing his badge on the desk and quits.
As this goes on, we see a character emerge on the scene via lightning in an alley like the Terminator. This mystery person later wonders the docks around Miami and takes a man’s big ‘80s-ass cell phone. As the camera pulls away, we see a swastika band on the man’s arm.
Richard Spencer ! Adolf Hitler! And he’s being played by one of the guys from Lonely Island!
Froemming: Hitler uses this Zack Morris-style cellular telephone to call the police station, where he shoots the place up through the phone line, which had me laughing pretty hard at what a stupid concept that was.
Brown: How many people do you think tried doing this same thing when calling Nancy Pelosi’s phone in D.C. the last four years?
Froemming: Too many. Those chuckleheads.
Anywho, Kung Fury solves the problem by cutting down the Chief’s landline phone in its prime, thus preventing Hitler from killing the police.
But he needs a trace on the call. Good thing Kung Fury knows Hackerman! Hackerman is basically the love child of Kip and Rex from “Napoleon Dynamite.”
Brown: I hate that I can’t grow a better mustache than Hackerman. Also, between Hackerman and later, Barbarianna, this movie really likes giving epic intro titles for characters who get, what, a combined three minutes of screen time?
Anyways, Hackerman deduces that Hitler was the one that called and opened fire on the police station. It’s here that Kung Fury tells the tale of Hitler’s quest to become Kung Führer, the ultimate kung-fu master. He had the Nazis experiment on humans and robots in hopes of fulfilling the Kung Fury prophecy. It always ends unsuccessfully.
And look, playing Adolf Hitler is always gonna be an uncomfortable proposition. But when you spend the movie screaming about kung-fu and throwing up moves like you’re Mac from “Always Sunny,” that actually sounds like a lot of ridiculous fun.
Froemming: Everyone in this movie is living the far-right dream of nobody remembering the bad things Hitler did.
Brown: So Kung Fury’s plan is clear: he has to go back in time and kill Hitler. However, that’s no easy task. Just ask Deadpool.
Froemming: Hackerman figures out a way to computer hack through time through gibberish exposition, creating a portal for Kung Fury to jump through, only to over-hack the situation and sending our hero to…a time when dinosaurs lived with Thunder God Thor and people.
Brown: I blame Hackerman’s Power Glove. Like Lucas said: It’s so bad.
Froemming: This is the history they probably teach in Texas public schools.
Brown: If that’s the case, 2,000 years ago was a crazy time.
Froemming: Kung Fury sees he overshot his time-jump, and meets Barbarianna, who rides a wolf and looks like she belongs on a prog-metal album cover.
Brown: In what I’m sure will not be a surprise to Froemming, I had a major crush on Barbarianna when I saw her on screen.
Their meeting also leads to my favorite out-of-context line of the movie:
Kung Fury: “Where am I?”
Barbarianna: “This is the Viking Age.”
Kung Fury: (Talking to himself) “That explains the laser raptors… (REDACTED).”
Froemming: I also love when he introduces himself:
Kung Fury: “I’m a cop. From the future.”
Now they summon Thor, who has some pretty good pecs for a god his age.
Brown: Quick thought during this whole scene: This is the point in the movie where you can tell that English wasn’t these actors’ first language. If you watch the lips on Thor and Katana, the other viking warrior Kung Fury meets, their lips don’t quite match the dialogue. It’s like a spaghetti western where it’s just enough to throw you off.
Froemming: I noticed all the dialogue was done via ADR from the start. It was part of what made everything hilarious to me.
Anywho, Thor can send them to Nazi Germany with his magical powers. And before he leaves, Kung Fury gives Kitana his digits AND a cellphone so she can call him, since phones do not exist at this time.
To which we are given a commercial for the actual cellphone he gives her. It is wild.
Brown: Question for you, Froemming. At what point did you think to yourself “Is this a sequel to Manborg?” That movie also has karate, Nazis (well, vampire Nazis) and wishes it was the ‘80s.
Froemming: I sure did feel like it exists in that universe.
We now head to Nazi Germany, where two chucklehead Nazis discuss their sad mustaches and give each other crap about them. It is kinda funny, but not as funny as when Kung Fury kills them by picking up a tank and smashing them like a game of whack-a-mole!
Brown: That mustache conversation between the Nazis sounds like how you’d talk me down for growing a weak mustache. And I would also tear up, because I just wanna grow a great mustache but I lost the genetic lottery.
Inside, Hitler is soaking up the applause from his soldiers as he declares himself the world’s greatest kung-fu master.
… Then a tank comes flying in and Kung Fury goes HAM on the tenants of National Socialism.
This is the action sequence all teenage boys wrote in their heads while bored in social studies class. It’s pretty much like watching Johnny Cage from “Mortal Kombat” mow down history’s greatest villains. KUNG FURY RIDES A NAZI LIKE A SKATEBOARD FOR (REDACTED) SAKE!
Froemming: Hitler surprises Kung Fury with his gatling gun, shooting our hero (and some friendly fire casualties of his own soldiers). With Kung Fury down, his friends arrive, because like we learned from “Saved By The Bell” in regard to friendship:
We have Thor! We have Barbarianna and Kitana! We have (REDACTED) Triceracop shooting Nazis in the (REDACTED) dick like he is Butters!
Brown: There’s also a T-Rex because why the (REDACTED) not? Also, Hackerman turns into a robot like he’s Michael Jackson in “Moonwalker.”
All the Nazi soldiers get mowed down, the T-Rex defeats a mechanized reichsadler and Thor smashes both Hitler and the reichsadler with his hammer.
Also, Hackerman hacks Kung Fury back to life. Yeah, the actual line is “I hacked away your wounds.”
Also, apparently, heaven for Kung Fury looks like a “G.I. Joe” cartoon, which, honestly, I’d be OK with for an afterlife.
Froemming: I don’t know, didn’t seem great for Jeff Winger.
Brown: Just don’t actually kill anyone and it’s fine. Although, if “Community” dictates the afterlife, being in the “Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne” would be pretty badass.
Anyways, once revived, Kung Fury uppercuts Hitler in the nuggets before Thor finishes the job.
They did it! As the T-Rex says, “Teamwork is very important.” … Yeah, have the T-Rex talk, why the (REACTED) not?
Froemming: It’s going to be a hell of a lot of paperwork!
We cut to two days in the future, where another arcade cabinet has come to life and is destroying Miami. Which, given Florida, I can see happening. And Kung Fury is on his way, with his trusty HOFF9000 car computer. Which, can we just not encourage David Hasselhoff anymore? It was all fun and games when he was drunkenly trying to eat that hamburger and failing at it, but now it is a bit much.
Brown: Don’t talk shit about Hoff. He single-handedly brought down the Berlin wall, man. Also, he did a song for this movie’s soundtrack.
Kung Fury defeats the evil arcade cabinet but notices that there’s a swastika on it. Hitler was behind it! As Kung Fury makes that deduction, Hitler arrives back on the scene and rides onto the sky on the reichsadler.
… An airborne Hitler sounds like something I’d think of while having Nyquil dreams.
What will Hitler plot next? We’ll see when “Kung Fury 2” comes out! That movie will apparently be a full-length movie and will have both Michael Fassbender and Arnold (REDACTED) Schwarzenegger in it!
We’re absolutely reviewing the sequel when it hits. In the meantime, let’s get to recommendations so my Hackerman can build a time machine and I can find a single Barbarianna and try and make her my wife.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?
Brown: Hell yes. It’s a half-hour of stupid fun and a near-perfect love letter to the ‘80s.
Froemming: Yup, this was a fun movie.
Here is what’s coming up for the next Joe-Down:
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