If you’ve labored under the belief that most of what you would see at the Cannes Film Festival is highbrow arty films mixed in with the occassional Hollywood studio fare for spice, think again. Last weekend, perhaps the most outlandish short film will you will see this year, or perhaps for many years to come premiered. A simultaneous love letter and spoof of cheapie 1980s action movies called Kung Fury played to a packed theater at the iconic film festival and has been spreading across the internet since it premiered on YouTube Thursday.
The brainchild of Swedish filmmaker David Sandberg, Kung Fury centers on a loner cop who, after a random bolt of lightening hits him, is also a master kung fu artist. Of course he has a superior officer who doesn’t like his reckless attitude, even if it does get results. But when a time-travelling Hitler (Lonely Island’s Jorma Taccone) shows up determined to defeat Kung Fury and crown himself the Kung Fuhrer (say it aloud), Kung Fury finds he may have met his match. The result is a loving riff on the mid-1980s output of the Cannon Group, home to such action exploitation films like the Death Wish series, Missing In Action and Delta Force, with everything from video games to machine gun-totting viking babes riding dinosaurs. added in for spice.
Kung Fury is very much in the vein of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse, Tarantino’s solo Machete films and Scott Sanders Black Dynamite in that it is a loving recereation of a movie watching experience that has since pretty much vanished. In this case, it is the experience of watching cheesy, improbable action movies rented from the ecelctic selection available at the local mom and pop video store before the behemoth that it is Blockbuster came and ruined everything with their corporate homoginization. In place of Grindhouse‘s faux film scratches and missing reels and Black Dynamite‘s one take, daone on the cheap, ignore the dipping microphone esthetic, Sandberg delivers a film that often features the staticy horizontal bars of poor VCR tracking.
I won’t spoil all the insane and inventive turns that the film manages in its half hour run time, but there comes a point, right around where Kung Fury’s computer hacker friend Hackerman manages to hack a computer to create travel that the film morphs into its own thing, removed from the homage it started as and now its own banana pants crazy self.
But stop reading what I have to say about it and it out in the embed below. And if you find that you can’t seem to get enough of Sandberg’s crazy film, take solice in the fact that due to the interest that the project has sparked, Sandberg is already at work on a feature length version.