KUNG FU JOE
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
Zak Van winkle
What's it about
Kung Fu joe is not your average martial artist/detective. Well, is there even such a thing? Anyway, Joe and the Police Detective (that's his name) team up to take out some evil dudes who are trying to force their Soylent Green donuts on people.
Is it good movie?
I love campy, silly cinema. I thought that Black Dynamite was a work of art and one of my favorite movies ever is The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. They incorporate tributes and send-ups of their respective genres to add up to a zany and funny package.
Kung Fu Joe doesn't hang up with the aforementioned films, due to its extremely low budget and uneven pacing. The wacky plot is in place, and loaded with cliches and silly characters. Kung Fu Joe is our headstrong white savior (who gets his power from his afro), while the Detective looks like one of the cops from the Sabotage video. There's an evil scientist pumping soylent green into donuts and a bunch of goons led by a hunchback. Oh, and a potted plant man. Yes, that's awesome.
The film isn't exactly predictable because it's all over the place. There's mind control, a loss of power and even Pirate-style kung fu. The problem here is that although there is some smart dialogue and funny writing, it isn't consistent. Of course, the acting is terrible, but that isn't a fault here at all. If this movie were acted well, it would probably hurt things.
Sure, it's over the top ad ridiculous at every turn. There are brains in jars and kung-fun monsters but I could help but feel the flick was missing any real oomph. I didn't laugh as often as I should have and if I' not laughing during something so ridiculous, I'm likely noticing flaws. I just couldn't help but feel bored after awhile. I mean, I get the whole gimmick but the movie often comes off like an episode of a kids cartoon show more than anything else.
Everyone is a caricature, everything is exaggerated to no end. On the plus side, I loved the creative dubbing of swear words to make dialogue PG-friendly. That was really funny. There are some good gags in here, just not enough to sustain a movie that runs almost 90 minutes long. The right person will undoubtedly love this wacky labor, I just didn't think it was quite creative enough to be overly memorable.
Video / Audio
Video and Audio specs are not listed.
There's an 8 minute behind the scenes
featurette that basically just jumps from clip to clip of people
having fun making the film.
There's also a commentary with the
Director Glen Berry and Kung Fu Joe himself, Zak Van Winkle.
This is a very informative and pretty honest track, but the guys are a
little dry in their delivery. Still, worth a listen if you like the
film though. You too can learn what Kung Fu Joe watched to prepare
himself for the role (Return of the Jedi and Enter the Dragon)!
Rounding out the disc are 2 trailers
and some production stills.