Alcon Entertainment is hoping that Eddie Murphy can be their number one superguy. The production company has signed the comic actor to voice the lead character for Hong Kong Phooey, a hybrid live-action/CGI animation family film they currently have in development based on the 1970s Hannah-Barbera cartoons series.
Murphy will play Henry, a police station janitor who is also the karate-chopping detective superhero Hong Kong Phooey. And no one seems to notice or care that Henry/Hong Kong Phooey is a dog. Nor does anyone ever seem to connect that they are the same dog.
Murphy has some rather big shoes to fill here, as the original voice actor to play the character was the distinctive Scatman Crothers. Additionally, he’ll be competing with himself as his most popular work in the last decade or so has been his voiceover work as Donkey in the Shrek films.
Another hurdle that the film will overcome is something more out of Murphy’s hands – the low quality we’ve seen from a number of cartoons that have gotten the live action/CGI treatment. Movies like Yogi Bear and The Smurfs have a built-in audience that guarantees tickets will be sold, even when it appears that the filmmakers have forgotten that they need to entertain those ticket buyers once they’re in the theaters. Not helping matters is that the film will be directed by Alex Zamm, whose last theatrical film was the Carrot Top “masterpiece” Chairman Of The Board. He also has a number of direct-to-video- cheapie sequels like Inspector Gadget, Dr. Doolittle: Million Dollar Mutts and Toothy Fairy 2 to his credit.
In the meantime, here’s the original cartoon’s opening titles and theme song sung by Crothers himself.