When much of day-to-day life was brought to a halt at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, Jennifer Linch was one of the many people who got their creative juices flowing for a long dreamt of endeavor. In her case, that was making the supernatural action comedy “Kung Fu Ghost”, which Linch both leads and directs.
While most certainly a low budget affair operating on the tiniest scale, “Kung Fu Ghost” entertains well with decent martial arts fights, deliberately over-the-top acting from the entire cast, and Linch’s performance as a heroine slow on the uptake who also has a heart of gold.
After the passing of her grandfather, a young woman in Vietnam named Daisy receives a letter informing her of her large inheritance in America. The catch however is that she has to stay in her grandfather’s old house for one week, which Daisy quickly comes to realize is haunted by the ghosts of her grandfather and a man named William (Noah Sargent).
Worse still, a group of thieves make repeated attempts to break into the house, and it is far from a routine break-in attempt on their part. As Daisy learns from her grandfather and William, the thieves, led by a man named Warren (Rene Fernanadez) are in pursuit of a priceless artifact with potentially immortal-level power.
In order to stop them from getting their hands on it, Daisy has to use martial arts in order to defend her new homestead, with her grandfather periodically cutting out the
middleman by possessing her body and doing all the fighting on her behalf.
Small-Scale but Fun!
As, for lack of a better term, a “COVID movie”, “Kung Fu Ghost” is very modest in its scale and production values, with eighty percent of the film taking place in Daisy’s new house with the ghostly visual effects kept to a minimum.
As director, Jennifer Linch knows the strict parameters that the budget of “Kung Fu Ghost” will allow, and she’s surprisingly adept with the mandatory minimalism of the story. With essentially a living room, a kitchen, a porch, and a few bedrooms to work with, Linch brings in elements of action, romance, comedy, and supernatural fun into “Kung Fu Ghost” that make the movie a fun, low-budget action-comedy.
Daisy Makes an Engaging Heroine
As the lead of the movie, Linch is also eminently likeable and entertaining as the clueless but sincere Daisy. To say Daisy’s in over her head would be putting it mildly, Daisy being a young woman who has never dreamt of the kind of commitment necessary to reach her grandfather’s level of kung fu mastery (“I exercise my right not to exercise Grandpa”, as she puts it).
Linch jumps from the wacky, Looney Tunes humor of knocking herself out with a frying pan to the rigors of a martial arts fight, to the surprising movie romance she develops with William with great ease.
As an actress, Linch thrives in the kind of fish-out-of-water scenario “Kung Fu Ghost” puts a supernatural twist on, and the movie is worth seeing completely for her affable performance as a naïve heroine with a heart of gold.
Features Good, Goofy Fight Scenes!
Of course, a movie titled “Kung Fu Ghost” would not be complete without both components of its title. The action scenes of “Kung Fu Ghost” are another all-around strong specimen of Linch doing a lot with a little and doing so in the middle of a pandemic.
With every fight scene and training montage taking place essentially within a 30-foot radius, the location keeps the action as modestly scaled as the rest of the movie, but the fight scenes of “Kung Fu Ghost” are nonetheless plenty of silly fun.
For a movie dealing with life and death, the fight scenes in “Kung Fu Ghost” lean more towards the movie’s comedic tone and largely avoid the threat of death or serious injury, aside from a fast-paced knife fight. Still, the staging and fight choreography is well-handled for the budget and scope, and Linch is a swift fireball in action against her opponents.
Daisy’s training scenes also add more comedy to the film, for example with her rolling out of bed barely awake, and forced into a chair-to-chair split with her grandfather’s drill sergeant orders as Daisy shrieks for mercy!
A Good Start for Jennifer Linch
As her first feature as both director and lead, Jennifer Linch does an commendable job with “Kung Fu Ghost” as a silly but charming supernatural comedy with martial arts as its big topping.
To be sure, the production values are as modest as they come, and “Kung Fu Ghost” almost resembles what a 48-hour movie might look like given enough time to be expanded to a feature length. With that said, “Kung Fu Ghost” knows exactly what it is as a zany, romantic martial arts comedy with a supernatural backdrop, and succeeds admirably in the admittedly small sandbox it has to work in.
Jennifer Linch’s charming performance as the cheerful Daisy also demonstrates her knack for comedy, direction, and fight scenes plentifully, and hopefully, “Kung Fu Ghost” opens bigger budgeted doors for her future career.