Monday, June 1, 2015

Kung Fury

Now that Kickstarter is actually enabling filmmakers to raise the money for their dream projects there have been a fair amount of movies to come from it, some good and some bad. Kung Fury was funded way back in December of 2013 with a total of $630,019 from 17,713 backers (I was not one of them) donating their hard earned money to see a cool little 80s themed gonzo concept trailer turned into a full fledged feature. Since they were only looking to raise $200,000 initially I was expecting the final product to be one of gargantuan proportions.

And then I saw that the final film was only 30 minutes long. WTF?!
It turns out that director David Sandberg, who also plays the titular character, was looking to raise the $200k for the short film and his stretch goal was to raise $1m for the feature version. Since they never came close to that amount it looks like there will be no such thing.

But how is the short version?

Beat cop turned super hero crime fighter Kung Fury (David Sandberg) must travel back in time to stop Adolf Hitler (Jorma Taccone), also known as Kung Fuhrer, from destroying the future.
I liked the Kung Fury trailer that everyone seemed to be talking about at the end of 2013. It was goofy, fun and cheesy beyond belief. There were cop cars being flung into the air by street punks on skateboards, robot arcade cabinets firing laser guns, a Viking girl riding a T. Rex and… Thor. It was pretty much all digital trickery with only the actors being the real things on screen. There was also a cool filter being used to make the footage look like it was being played off a worn out VHS tape. It looked promising if not completely ridiculous.

However, the short film really burned me out on the concept. I could barely sit through this thirty minute version. I cannot even fathom one that would be ninety minutes long!
There is so much stuff being thrown at that viewer in such rapid fire succession that it makes Mad Max: Fury Road look like an exercise in futility. It is a non-stop barrage of crazy CGI FX, explosions, horrible acting (that is dubbed into English due to the actors all being Swedish), 80s nostalgia and bad jokes. I want to give Sandberg the benefit of the doubt that he set out to make something fun and silly, but he went completely overboard and the end result is not all that enjoyable in my eyes. 15 minutes in I felt like my brain was melting.

As the title character Sandberg was going for the stoic hero type, but he comes off as someone who has clearly never acted before. Everyone in the cast is the same. I know some of the actors are his friends while others wanted to be a part of the film due to its ambitious nature. This is a blessing and a curse (I know because I’ve been in the same boat). I wasn’t expecting Oscar worthy performances, but I at least wanted to see people looking like they gave a shit about what was going on instead of everyone coming off as Keanu Reeves in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
While the FX are really cool and slick, I got sick of all the obvious greenscreen and digital creations. Seriously, I think there is only one real set in the entire film. This is also further proof that just because technology allows you to do all these crazy things doesn’t mean that you have to. With each passing year I get more and more sick of CGI. Kung Fury isn’t helping.

There is a lot of batshit crazy stuff going on in Kung Fury, but for me it was a little much. And this is coming from someone who really enjoyed Iron Sky, another crowdfunded film. While I did find some of the humor enjoyable, a few of the 80s references clever (the hacker character uses a Power Glove and an MSX home computer to hack the time continuum) and some of the action scenes kind of rad it wasn’t enough to sell me on this flick. There's just nothing there under the surface. And most disappointing of all – IT’S NOT FUN! Maybe I’m getting old and jaded. Or maybe I just yearn for the filmmaking days of old.

1.5 out of 5

You can watch the entire short film here:

No comments:

Post a Comment