Kung Pow: Enter the Fist (2002)

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Released 8-Apr-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Steve Oedekerk (Director) & Paul Marshal (Producer/Editor)
Alternate Audio-What Were They Really Saying?
Alternate Audio-Kung Pow! The Long-Lost Book On Tape Version
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Featurette-Pow Visual Effects (3)
Deleted Scenes-14
Featurette-Tonguey Tribute
Featurette-Scenes with Alternate Dialogue (6)
Featurette-Kung Pow Promos (3)
Gallery-Photo-Film Frames; Cast; Behind The Scenes
Notes-Press Notes
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Featurette-A Fond Farewell
Featurette-A Panicked Thumb
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 78:09
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (49:22) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Steve Oedekerk
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Steve Oedekerk
Leo Lee
Jennifer Tung
Case ?
RPI $26.95 Music Robert Folk


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Alternate Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Alternate Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English Audio Commentary
English Alternate Subtitles
English Alternate Subtitles
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, well, humourous product placement at least.
Action In or After Credits Yes, outtakes, and effects befores-and-afters.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    This is the review of the sell-through release of Kung Pow: Enter The Fist. If you read my review of the rental version of this movie, you will know that I found it to be ridiculous, stupid, un-witty, and above all, very funny if you approach it in the right frame of mind.

    Having watched it again, all I can say is that I was right the first time around. This movie is most certainly not high-art, in fact the word "art" cannot even be associated with it in any way. It is derivative, is not particularly original, relies on a lot of toilet humour, and is not at all intelligent. But it is funny. Admittedly, this third viewing certainly wasn't as enjoyable as the first and second times. The reason for this seems to be more related to the state-of-mind in which the film is viewed, than the jokes getting old. You really have to be in the right mood to get the most out of this film. If you don't feel like putting up with the completely ridiculous, then the film will not be as enjoyable.

    So what is the plot? Well, it is about as silly as they come. The Chosen One (Steve Oedekerk), who's identifying mark is a creature of unknown origin living in his tongue (known, inventively, as Tonguey), lives under constant attack from agents of the Evil Council. The Evil Council's number one agent, Master Pain (or as he prefers to be known, Betty), killed Chosen's family when he was just a baby, and now Chosen is out for revenge. Chosen tracks down Master Tang - the man in charge of the Crane School of martial arts - to help hone his skills, but soon Betty comes to town and starts making life difficult for everyone. Chosen must conquer his fear, and Betty's invulnerability, to defeat the Evil Council's plan, and reveal his own fate. See? I said it was silly.

    It is not the plot that is the main reason behind Kung Pow. What this movie does is take an old Hong Kong marital arts film known as Tiger and Crane Fists, take out all the voices, re-edit the footage, and then digitally insert Oedekerk into the new edit to create an entirely new film with all the voices dubbed by Oedekerk (and poorly dubbed at that - on purpose of course). Yes, it's been done before (Woody Allen's What's Up? Tiger Lily comes to mind), but never with this level of insanity. And only recently has old and new footage been able to be integrated together to make the one film (roughly 50% of the footage is new).

    In the final wash, there is really no point in trying to do an in-depth analysis of this film, any more than there is any point in trying to do an in-depth analysis of why Ray Martin's hair never moves. Just go with the flow and enjoy the stupidity - and maybe you will find something to laugh at.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Although this sell-through version of Kung Pow has been remastered onto a dual-layer disc, the video transfer appears identical to the one presented on the single-layer rental disc. It is an extremely variable transfer in terms of quality, but the nature of the film leads to that more than anything else.

    Presented at 2.35:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced. It is the correct aspect ratio for both the old and new footage.

    Sharpness is not too bad considering the origins of at least half the footage. Some of the older footage (and one segment of new...) is a little soft, but in general there aren't too many issues in this regard. Grain is a constant presence - the new footage actually had grain digitally added in order to match the old footage. In general the grain is low enough to not be distracting, although at times it can become a little overwhelming, such as between 37:58 and 38:02. Shadow detail is generally good for the newer footage, and generally poor for the older, where the faded nature leads to the darker areas merging into one grey haze. As most of the old footage is well lit it is not an enormous problem. There is no low level noise in either old or new footage.

    Colours are again an issue for the older footage. As with the grain, the newer footage was digitally manipulated to look close to the old, so the colours can only be described as good without being spectacular. The older footage can, at times, be extremely washed out and lacking in detail - but really what can you expect from a 25 year old film that has been very poorly treated? Another problem that exhibits itself on the old footage, and that can be quite annoying, is some rather obvious colour blooming. It is generally restricted to the lighter colours - light reds, blues and white. Some examples can be seen at 44:19 and 50:31.

    There are no compression artefacts apparent in this film, and very little aliasing, with the worst instance being on the spears at 19:33 - and that is quite mild. Film artefacts are another matter however. The older footage is covered in them, with many sequences being quite badly effected, such as from 50:30 to 50:50. Additionally, there are some strange artefacts, such as on the waterfall from 35:45 to 35:51 that may have been present in the older footage, or may have been introduced when looping short amounts of old footage to make the new movie. Finally, there are a number of instances where the old footage seems to be missing a few frames, and the image will "jump" - again, this would be down to the quality of the original footage.

    The subtitles are quite accurate, and represent almost word-for-word what is said. Unfortunately, if you rely on subtitles, then watching this movie probably isn't worth the effort, as so much of the humour comes from the strange noises, and purposefully way-out dubbing. A special note should be made however that subtitles are provided for all four audio tracks - including the commentary. A nice touch that it would be good to see on more DVDs.

    This is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change taking place at 49:22 during chapter 17. It is well placed on a static screen that has little audio.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Unlike the video, the audio is not affected by the use of older footage - simply because all the sound from the older footage has been removed and replaced. As such, this is a very good audio transfer that is surprisingly active for a low-budget comedy.

    There are four audio tracks present on this disc. The first is the English dub in Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 448 kbps), the fourth the English audio commentary track in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo (at 192 kbps). The second and third can only be described as novelty tracks in the vein of the "Thermian language track" on the Region 1 edition of Galaxy Quest. The tracks are known as What Were They Really Saying and Kung Pow! The Long-lost Book On Tape Version, and both are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. See the extras section below for an explanation of the tracks.

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times, which is not surprising as pretty much the entire movie is dubbed by studio dialogue.

    Audio sync is, well, poor. It's supposed to be that way, mind. Virtually all the dialogue (with the exception of the opening minute or so) is dubbed so as not to match. In fact, even when the dialogue was recorded for the new footage, the actors were filmed saying lines vastly different to their dubbed lines. The sync for non-dialogue related sounds (well, apart from the dog) is spot on.

    The score is credited to Robert Folk, and alternates between a more contemporary sound and what one would expect a stereotypical 70s Hong-Kong kung-fu movie to sound like. In addition there are a number of contemporary songs used to good comedic effect.

    The surrounds get a very good work out, providing backing to the score and carrying a good deal of ambient noise (which is strange for a movie that uses no actual location audio). The best use of the surrounds however is for directional effects, some of which are played for laughs, and others just to follow the action.

    The subwoofer doesn't exactly have a whole heap to do in this movie, however it backs the score up where necessary, and supports the few sound effects that extend into deeper bass.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    This new sell through edition, as expected, comes with many more extras than are available on the rental disc. Unfortunately, they still end up seeming a little light-on.

Menu

    The menu is 16x9 enhanced, animated, themed around the movie, and features Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio. The audio and animation done for the main menu is quite humorous and compliments the movie well.

Featurette - Behind The Scenes (5:43)

    Not your typical Making-of this contains only a small amount of information about the making of this film, but is also relatively free from marketing fluff - instead it is mostly one long gag-reel. Amusing to watch, but you're not likely to learn awfully much.

Pow Visual Effects

    This section is broken into three sub-sections as follows     Both "before-and-after" segments are presented at a combination of 1.33:1 and 2.35:1, not 16x9 enhanced, while the animatic is presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced. All feature Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Audio Commentary - Steve Oedekerk (Actor/Director/Writer), Paul Marshal (Producer/Editor)

    This is an entertaining commentary, in which Oedekerk and Marshal banter in a friendly manner and generally just chat and joke about the film they made. They do not take the commentary all that seriously (Oedekerk even answers a call from his wife at one point and puts her on speakerphone), but still impart a good deal of information about the making of the movie.

Alternate Audio Tracks

    There are two additional audio tracks present on the main feature as follows:

Cut Scenes

    This section presents 14 scenes that were excised from the movie. For most, the reason was that they related to a scene that was dropped for ratings reasons (that scene - a torture scene - can be found in this collection). Most of these are funny, and all are in the same vein as the movie. The scenes are as follows:     All are presented at 2.35:1, non-16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Tonguey Tribute (0:50)

    This is a short gag-reel focusing on Tonguey, taken mostly from deleted scenes. Presented at 2.35:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio. It should be noted that it also contains a considerable spoiler for the end of the movie, and should therefore be left until after viewing the movie.

Scenes with Alternate Dialogue

    This section presents six scenes from the movie with alternate takes on the dubbing. These are just alternate voices that were used during production and ultimately discarded. Some are quite funny, while others are not as good as what was ultimately chosen. All scenes are presented at 2.35:1, are not 16x9 enhanced, and feature Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio. The scenes are as follows:

Kung Pow Promos

    This section presents three promo's of 30 seconds each, taken from US TV. They are quite amusing, and are in the style of the DVD's menu (or maybe the menu is in the style of these promos...). They are presented at 1.33:1, are not 16x9 enhanced, and feature Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

Photo Gallery

    This section is less a photo gallery, and more a collection of everything not moving. That is, not only do we have a collection of Film Frames (14 photos), Cast Photos (9), and Behind The Scenes shots (12), but we have 12-page Press Notes, and 18-pages of biography information on the three "stars" of this film, as well as the producer and producer/editor.

A Fond Farewell (0:41)

    The Chosen One and Betty wish us well in our future endeavours. This is a short farewell done in the style of the menus and promos, and is quite amusing. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

A Panicked Thumb (0:07)

    Steve Oedekerk, along with creating Kung Pow, was also the creative "genius" behind the Thumb series of comedies (you know...as in Thumb Wars, Thumbtanic, God Thumb, etc.). This is one of those thumbs, and he's, ah, panicked.

Easter Eggs

    There are two Easter eggs present on this disc. The first can be accessed by selecting the Groin kick-o-rama option under Cut Scenes and moving right. This will present 30 seconds of footage that was deleted from the movie that features considerable movement in the Chosen One's pants. The second can be accessed by moving right from Kung Pow Promos on the second page of special features. This will present a 10 second close up of the Chosen one playing with Kung Cow's udder. Neither of these is really worth the time to view. They are both presented at 2.35:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     Unless you have a preference for French or Spanish, neither version is superior.

Summary

    Kung Pow is an insane comedy that really shouldn't be encouraged, but that still manages to be funny if you have an appreciation for the utterly stupid.

    The video quality is extremely variable, but that isn't really a surprise considering half the footage comes from a battered old Hong Kong martial arts film. In that respect it's actually very good.

    The audio quality is extremely good, and makes very good use of surround sound.

    The extras, while seemingly numerous, are lacking much in the way of real depth, with only the commentary providing any insight into the making of this movie. Then again, how much depth is there to be found in a movie of this nature?

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Thursday, May 01, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-555K, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersRochester Audio Animato Series (2xSAF-02, SAC-02, 3xSAB-01) + 12" Sub (150WRMS)

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