Kung Pow: Enter the Fist (Rental) (2002)
Trailer-Shallow Hal;Don't Say A Word;Ice Age;Road Kill; Joe Somebody
Featurette-Visual Effects; Deleted Scenes (4)
|Year Of Production||2002|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Steve Oedekerk|
Twentieth Century Fox
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||No|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes, well, maybe not annoying...more amusing|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
In the vein of Woody Allen's What's Up Tiger Lily, Kung Pow is two movies in one. Writer-director Steve Oedekerk (the man behind such fare as both Nutty Professor movies, Patch Adams, and the recent Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius) has taken 1976 Kung Fu epic Tiger And Crane Fists - apparently a very well-respected and tragic film - removed the voices, re-dubbed almost every line in the movie with his own character voices, and digitally inserted himself into the action (and added a few new sequences to help out). The end result is the story of the Chosen One (and his tongue).
As a child, the Chosen One's family were all killed by Master Pain (Fei Lung), or as he prefers to be known, Betty - a set up that makes sense at the end of the movie - and only narrowly escaped death himself. Raised in a canyon by desert rodents, the Chosen One lives under constant attack. It is for this reason that he decides to seek the help of the renowned Kung Fu champion Master Tang. From there he attempts to finish off the threat of Betty once and for ever, and remove the shadow of the mysterious "Evil Council" from the lands.
The story really is not all that important, serving only as a vehicle for Oedekerk to take as many swipes at the Kung Fu genre as are possible in 78 minutes. From bad dubbing, to insane fight scenes, to epic conflicts, this movie leaves nothing sacred. It is very much in the spirit of Mel Brooks efforts such as Robin Hood: Men In Tights, although it is far sillier than anything even Brooks could conceive of. In the end it is the pure stupidity of the set-ups and the total lack of regard for the audience having any intelligence at all that makes this movie work - there really are many laugh-out-loud moments.
Be warned - this movie is absolutely not for everyone. There are no real "gross-out" sequences (it is far milder than any of the teen-oriented fare that has appeared on movie screens in the last few years) to worry about, but the total stupidity will be enough to make many people walk away. On the other hand, if you enjoy being able to sit down and not having to think at all, then this is the perfect solution, and you'll probably roll off the couch with laughter. It works especially well after a hard week of work - pop in Kung Pow and let the weekend roll on!
Presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio (for both movies) of 2.35:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.
Sharpness, for the most part is quite good. There are a few sequences from the older footage that are a little soft, but overall it is quite impressive. Grain is usually quite minor despite being almost constantly present in the older footage, however it does rise to overpowering levels on occasions, such as between 37:58 and 38:02, and in the footage of the temple from 63:31 onwards. Shadow detail continues the pattern of variation, being considerably better for the modern footage than the old, however as almost all the older footage is well-lit, it causes little problem. There was no visible low-level noise in either the old or new footage.
Colours were generally quite good, although there were a few sequences of the old footage that had not aged too well and looked extremely washed out such as the external shots of Master Tang's headquarters (an example is at 29:40). There is also quite a large problem with blooming of light colours in the old footage, such as between 44:47 and 44:54 and at 50:30. It can at times be extremely distracting.
There are no compression artefacts in this transfer, nor are there any film-to-video artefacts. There are a few jumps in sequence of the old footage, but this is an error with the source, and not the transfer. There are numerous film artefacts, and as with many of the other problems, they largely only affect the older footage. Probably the worst sequence is between 44:37 and 46:02 as one particular camera angle used in the sequence is constantly afflicted by large and extremely noticeable film artefacts, but there are many other instances - it is largely the easiest way to spot the new and old footage, as the new footage is almost completely free of film artefacts. There are also some strange, and rather noticeable, artefacts such as above the Chosen One while he exercises at 19:19 and on the waterfall at 35:45-51. These artefacts do not appear as standard film artefacts, and could be digital artefacts introduced during the editing of the two films.
The subtitles are consistently accurate, however given the nature of this film, they are not very effective at conveying the comedy.
As a single-layered disc, this transfer contains no layer change.
There is only a single audio track present on this disc, being the (dubbed) English dialogue in Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 448 Kbps).
Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times, although given that all bar roughly three lines of dialogue were looped by the one person, if the dialogue wasn't easy to hear it would be a seriously sub-standard effort. The mixing of sound effects and musical tracks is also spot on, never creating any problems.
Audio sync is spot-on for the roughly thirty seconds of dialogue that is not in badly-dubbed English. The vast majority of the film features extremely badly dubbed English, and it is even included in a number of the jokes - so whether that means that the audio sync is actually correct - who knows? As far as the effects noises matching actions such as punches and attacks - well, they are spot on.
The music consists of two components - the score by Robert Folk, and a few contemporary/popular tunes used in action sequences. The score does its job very well, but it is the previously written music that is used to give both drive and comedic value to the action sequences, and it is very effective.
The surrounds are used quite extensively to carry both directional effects and ambient noise. They are not used to carry music as much as may have been expected, but still enough to surround the listener. However, it is the use of ambient noise that is both surprisingly good, and also used to comedic effect on a few occasions. A very good effort.
The subwoofer has very little to do during this movie, as there are no explosions, and little in the score for it to work with, however as the movie comes towards a climax there are a few sound effects and a tune that bring it to life. It certainly is not going to rattle the house down, however it is still useful when it does come in.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video quality is extremely variable, as the older footage is not in particularly good shape, while the newer footage is very nice indeed.
The audio is far more consistent, and is very impressive, making good use of the surrounds, and helping the (stupid) humour.
There are more extras here than there have been on most rental titles from Fox that I have seen. Even so, they are a far cry from what is available in Region 1.
|DVD||Pioneer DV-535, using Component output|
|Display||Loewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-DS787, THX Select|
|Speakers||All matching Vifa Drivers: centre 2x6.5" + 1" tweeter (d'appolito); fronts and rears 6.5" + 1" tweeter; centre rear 5" + 1" tweeter; sub 10" (150WRMS)|