Rated PG-13 - Running Time: 1:21 - Released 1/25/02

If you've ever been a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (or its precursor, the short-lived Mad Movies TV show), you might enjoy Kung Pow: Enter The Fist, the brainchild of wacky comedy writer Steve Oedekerk (Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls). Otherwise, don't waste your money. There's no doubt that watching a cheesy old movie, especially a cheesy old kung fu movie, and making fun of it, is for many an enjoyable activity. What Oedekerk doesn't realize is that watching someone else make fun of a cheesy old movie is tiresome and seldom funny. Starring Oedekerk, or rather his head digitally grafted onto the body of an unnamed Asian actor from Yu Wang's 1977 kick-and-punch-fest Tiger & Crane Fist (also called Savage Killers), Kung Pow follows that film through many of its melodramatic scenes, overdubbing the voices of Oedekerk and friends doing silly new dialogue which simultaneously bores the audience and disrespects the original film. The story they concoct is something about a martial arts master, called "The Chosen One," who spends his life on a quest to avenge the deaths of his parents, killed during his infancy by another martial arts master played earnestly by another Fist star. In the middle of this is a wise old master and his comely daughter, who attempt to help The Chosen One get the bad guy with disastrous consequences.

I haven't seen such self-amused trash since Freddy Got Fingered. There is occasionally a bit of original material thrown in, like the inclusion of former Miss Chinatown USA, Jennifer Tung, as a kind of wise oracle with shiny lipstick and one huge breast in the middle of her chest. Although she's featured in the trailer for the film, she barely has any more screen time than what you see in the commercial. And then there's the ninja cow that shoots milk from its udder while suspended in midair, Matrix-style. Gee, I wonder how many times we've seen that bit parodied so far.

Kung Pow is like sitting next to a 14-year-old who thinks he's the funniest person in the world, watching an already bad movie while he tries to make it worse with lame jokes. Unfortunately, Oedekerk succeeds. *

Copyright 2002 by John R. McEwen and The Republican

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