“Kung Fury” is an everything 80’s inspired, 31 minute short film that recently went viral. It was released via YouTube and VOD (video on demand), amongst other media platforms. In late 2013, Swedish born, first time Writer/Director David Sandberg started a Kickstarter campaign in order to raise funds for a full length feature. The initial goal of $1 million wasn’t met by the due date, however by the end of January 2014 over 17,000 people had backed the idea managing to raise well over $600,000. People who say that crowd funded campaigns don’t work, need look no further than “Kung Fury”. I was one of those 17,000 backers and through a tonne of promotion, and great marketing techniques Sandberg did the unimaginable and got the film made. Kung Fury is set in Miami, the year 1985. Fury (played by Sandberg himself), is the toughest of all the cities cops. He’s a master of mixed martial arts and is the go to man when it comes to taking down the city’s worst criminals. With a ragtag group of colorful characters, ranging from his newest partner, Triceracop (played by Erik Hornqvist), to a Swedish Thor (Andreas Cahling) and a geek named Hackerman (Leopold Nilsson), Fury must travel back in time to kill the worst criminal of all Kung Fuhrer (Jorma Taccone), aka “Adolph Hitler”. The film also stars Eleni Young, Helene Ahlson and the voice of David Hasselhoff, playing “The Hoff 9000”.
Let’s begin with the most obviously rad thing about Kung Fury (other than its kick ass title), the poster artwork. An artist has cleverly drawn it with that “Street Fighter” look about it, there are so many images and colors you don’t know where to look first. I mean who wouldn’t see the movie that’s got Hitler, A Dinosaur, Thor, A filthy 80’s mullet and the equivalent of Daniel Larusso (The Karate Kid) on the front cover right? (haha). David has crafted an incredibly self-aware, parody based film with the inclusion of anything and everything 80’s. It plays as a clear homage to some of the best arcade video games of the 80’s, all the while blending the cheesiness of the Action/Comedy cop genre, while managing to ground itself in its own bat shit crazy world. Right off the bat the 70’s and 80’s synth score hits home and reminds us why we loved that particular era, and all its glory. When the diverse mix of electro, and drum based tunage isn’t thumping through your speakers in the most radical of ways, we still get to hear some tough glam rock riffs The team responsible for the sequencing of all the music did a fantastic job.
The audio levels are pretty solid, and even though I don’t usually care for the poorly re-recorded, out of synch over dubbed dialogue (you know the stuff I’m talking about), in this case it adds a certain nostalgic charm. Sandberg’s narration provides us with as much back story as you’d need for a film titled Kung Fury. He manages to deliver his one liners, and dare I say “emotionally charged” parts with great comedic timing and more seriousness than what’s required. He explains how he became Kung Fury, and the not so shocking loss of his partner and friend in the line of duty (haha, those of you who have seen it will know what I’m talking about). When he means business, he makes sure we know he means business. He lets us know everything he’s going to do and why he’s going to do it (haha). Not only does everything sound great, it looks amazing too. Every dollar that was raised went towards what you see on the screen. The backdrops and green screen sequences are a plenty, and are constantly changing. It’s such a creative look clearly inspired by the world of arcade video games, in particular old school ones I used to play like “Carmen Sandiego” and “Street Fighter”. There’s even a cartoon section of the film that looks like an episode of “Power Rangers” or “Dragonball Z”, I’ve never seen anything like that incorporated into a conventional film before.
Kung Fury is all about its comedy. David knew exactly the tone he was going for when he wrote this screenplay and in that sense, whether you’re a fan or not, the skilful writing stands up and cannot be denied. The inclusion of so many unconventional characters makes for one hell of an entertaining time. You’ve got the man himself Kung Fuhrer, whose sporting some mad martial artistry, and taunting his enemies in a rather flamboyant manner. Fury’s new partner just so happens to be a Laseraptor (haha), just because he can be. Half human, able to talk but sporting a dinosaur head. Not to mention the film also has an actual dinosaur, a T-Rex which assists Fury in his battle with the Fuhrer. Rounding out the group is a time traveling Thor, who is in actual fact just a really ripped Swedish bloke with a big hammer (haha), just as impressive as Hemsworth though. I won’t ruin the best stone cold one liners because they are all hilarious, but my favorite line from Kung Fury would be ” I could tell almost immediately that he was dead” (watch the film you’ll get why it’s funny haha). The Hoff aka David Hasselhoff has a very small, albeit entertaining as hell, part in the film so keep and eye out for that. The constant 80’s references, and superb attention to detail in regards to clothing, set design and props is second to none.
Bar probably 30 seconds of running time that includes some pretty shabby VHS style tracking, every minute of Kung Fury is worthy of your time. I understand the nod to shot on video films and bad VHS footage, I just didn’t care for it back then and don’t now. The action sequences are a lot of fun, and there were a few cool blood and gore effects, however I was still hoping for more on that front. I thought being a European film, the splatter content might have been a bit heavier. I get that’s not everybody’s thing and in fact it wasn’t the intention here and probably wouldn’t keep with the desired cheesy theme, but it doesn’t mean I still wouldn’t have liked to see it.
I was more than blown away by David Sandberg’s “Kung Fury”. I don’t think I’ve ever been that entertained for 31 minutes, I truly mean that (haha). This blends the old school futuristic throwback of movies like “Robocop” and “Dredd”, with the nature of an underdog story like “The Karate Kid” or “Kickboxer”, all the while grounding the misfit group dynamic of a John Hughes film. There’s even a touch of the more recent hidden gem “Iron Sky” in there, brilliant absolutely brilliant. The attention to detail here is flawless, the soundtrack exhilarating and the writing dim-witted in the cleverest of ways. The cheesy acting, fight choreography and cartoon included, give you products (folks) of the 80’s everything you could ever want. Kung Fury is an incredibly original, and by the same token unoriginal, self-aware and extremely ambitious undertaking that proves the underdog can win sometimes. Whether it’s being the best at something your passionate about, winning that promotion, getting the girl, or even making a film perhaps you never thought possible, Underdogs are everybody’s favorite protagonist. Below is the link to Kung Fury, before you go on living the rest of your lives spend 30 minutes of your time on this and trust me when I say you won’t regret it.
My rating for “Kung Fury” is 9.5/10