Anyone following film development news at the moment can’t help but notice a trend for remaking, rebooting and recreating popular and obscure works from the 1980s, driven by children of the decade gaining prominence in the entertainment industry and riding a wave of nostalgia. Raising a homicidal, rampaging arcade machine’s robotic middle finger to this is Kung Fury.
While mimicking the retro cheese of VHS trash is still a popular filmmaking style (seen most notably and effectively in the likes of Planet Terror, Manborg and Iron Sky), Kung Fury elevates it to a whole new level. And then blows it up. To say that the film is over the top is like saying that standing in the path of a supernova will give you mild sunburn.
Filmed like it’s a VHS recording – even including a few tracking glitches (ask your parents) – it has heads disappearing in fountains of blood, it has gigantic explosions lighting up the night in apocalyptic balls of fire, it has hyperkinetic fight sequences that not only defy probability but also the currently accepted laws of physics, and all to the pounding beats of a synth-pop soundtrack. Barely sixty seconds go by without something utterly demented occurring, to the point that after ten minutes you’ll have exhausted your vocabulary of superlatives and be unable to even verbalise a reaction. Several encounters are so ridiculous that to mention them would spoil the surprise, but suffice to say that meeting a couple of Viking babes wearing sexy leather two-pieces and wielding automatic weaponry is amongst the least absurd of occurrences. The film so exudes and amplifies the spirit of ‘80s DTV that you feel it wouldn’t be complete without a home release on Betamax and LaserDisc.
The story, if it even matters, follows the eponymous cop as he battles crime on the mean streets of Miami. The Chosen One of an ancient prophecy, his power is coveted by Adolf Hitler (who has renamed himself Kung Führer), so he must travel back in time to defeat the Nazi warrior. The fact that star David Sandberg (who also wrote and directed the film) appears to be taking it all very seriously only adds to the hilarity, and his looking like Johnny Depp having stepped straight off the set of 21 Jump Street and growling in a gravel baritone like Dirty Harry makes him a perfect fit for the scenario. The dialogue is peppered with comically bad puns, with “You gonna need that spine? It’s holding your back” being about as sophisticated as it gets, along with some inappropriately inspired lines such as “I’ve got the mayor up my ass like a fag on Viagra.”
That’s it: the ‘80s are officially over. Everyone can give up trying to imitate them, because absolutely nothing will ever even come close to touching these stratospheric heights of unadulterated lunacy.
KUNG FURY / CERT: N/A / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: DAVID SANDBERG / STARRING: DAVID SANDBERG, JORMA TACCONE, LEOPOLD NILSSON, ELENI YOUNG, HELENE AHLSON, ANDREAS CAHLING, ERIK HORNQVIST / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW