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As an infant in ancient China, The Chosen One (Steve Oedekerk) survives the slaughter of his parents by the warlord Master Pain (Lung Fai), also known as Betty. Left to die on a mountainside, he is raised by rodents and learns the secrets of martial arts. As an adult, he sets out to gain revenge for their deaths and discover his true destiny.

Reviewed by Richard Kuipers:
The year may be young but it's going to take something extraordinary to top this as the worst film of 2002. Writer/director/star/voice-over-artist Steve Oederkerk is completely to blame for this putrid, laughless spoof of the kung-fu genre. The dubious talent who's been involved in such cinematic gems as Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Nutty Professor 2 and Patch Adams, clearly lives under the delusion that he's the funniest guy in town and no-one's tapped him on the shoulder yet. We've all seen that drunk at the bar who keeps laughing at his own jokes while everyone else avoids him. It's like that here as Oederkerk not only inserts himself into the 1976 kung fu actioner Tiger and Crane Fists but supplies all the pathetically similar voices in the re-dubbed dialogue. The result is 80 minutes of excruciatingly unfunny comedy that lacks even the barest wit or style. It's humour of the arrested development type as Oederkerk unveils a (badly digitised) kung-fu fighting cow, a mono-breasted heroine named Whoa (Jennifer Tung) and, most hideous of all, a tongue with a face and mouth of its own. This is truly wretched and makes a spoof like Scary Movie 2 look like comic genius. Avoid at all costs in the cinema but when (and only when) it hits the '50 Cents for 8 days' shelf at the video shop it's worth renting just for the first 5 minutes. The opening scene in which baby Chosen One defeats all comers in armed combat is a dazzler. It's also the only segment of Tiger and Crane Fists left untouched by Oederkerk. If you want to see how a kung fu spoof is done, look for a copy of Kentucky Fried Movie. Don't waste your time with this stinker.

Review by Jake Wilson:
One of the dumbest and most flabbergasting films I've seen for a while. Partly a redubbed version of an old martial arts movie, it also includes a lot of new footage where writer-director-star Steve Oedekerk, a jock in a bad wig, blunders around a facsimile of ancient China pretending to be a legendary fighter. While our Western hero rolls his eyes and smirks, the Asian supporting cast (all dubbed by Oedekerk) gibber and shriek in comically
strangled voices. As a parody of orientalism it's the witless MTV answer to Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, complete with references to 'N Sync and jokes about anal fisting. I seriously considered walking out, but in stylistic terms this is pretty wild - at times I felt like I was watching the invention of a whole new brand of cinema (Scary Movie might be one precursor). Like a two-minute skit expanded to feature-length, Kung Pow mocks the whole idea of trying to tell a meaningful story or depict a believable world. The joke dubbing deliberately fractures the relation between the visual and the aural, while the pastiche of cheesy 70s camerawork flattens out the image with high-speed zooms and phony disjointed fight scenes. Weirdest and most compelling are the close-up gags about freaky and deformed bodies, owing something to the Farrelly brothers but more reliant on digital effects. In an early scene the hero reveals a living miniature face on the end of his tongue ('I call him Tonguey'); later he fights a Matrix-style battle with a cow, pummelling its udder like a punching-bag. Potentially, this kind of freeform cartoon fantasy has a lot going for it. I just wish that Oedekerk was prepared to take a few risks with his comedy (as Tom Green does in Freddy Got Fingered) rather than relying on smarmy wisecracks and obnoxious racism.

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CAST: Steve Oedekerk, Fei Lung, Leo Lee, Ling Ling Tse, Lin Yan, Chia Yung Liu

DIRECTOR: Steve Oedekerk

PRODUCER: Steve Oedekerk, Paul Marshal, Tom Korander

SCRIPT: Steve Oedekerk


EDITOR: Paul Marshal

MUSIC: Robert Folk


RUNNING TIME: 81 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 28, 2002
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: August 14, 2002 [Also available on DVD]

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