What do Nazis, dinosaurs, time travel, and the mighty God of Thunder himself, Thor, have in common? Nothing is what most people will tell you, but fortunately for us, David Sandberg isn’t most people. Toss all of these wildly disparate elements into a blender with a nice seasoning of martial arts action and wacky comedy, and the wildly popular YouTube sensation “Kung Fury” is what you get!
In addition to writing and directing the film, David Sandberg portrays our titular hero, the lone-wolf of justice known as ‘Kung Fury’ who finds himself opposed by history’s most evil kung fu master, Adolf Hitler aka the ‘Kung Fuhrer’, played by Saturday Night Live’s Jorma Taccone. Leopold Nilsson portrays our hero’s tech savvy ally Hackerman, while Erik Hornqvist plays his eager partner in the Miami police force, Triceracop, with Frank Sanderson lending his vocal talents. Kung Fury finds further allies in the form of lady Vikings Barbarianna and Katana, played by Eleni Young and Helene Ahlson, along with the legendary Norse God/Avenger, Thor, played by Andreas Cahling with Per-Henrik Arvidius providing the voice.
Miami detective Kung Fury is the Chosen One, endowed with the power of the highest form of martial arts in the universe that provides his namesake. He also doesn’t like working with partners after his last one was killed by a ninja, and he ultimately resigns from the force when paired with a rookie named Triceracop. However, Kung Fury may not be able to go it alone anymore when Adolf Hitler aka the Kung Fuhrer travels through time to murder the police chief. Kung Fury enlists the help of his good friend, techno-wiz Hackerman to send him back to Nazi Germany to put a stop to the Kung Fuhrer once and for all, but an unfortunate glitch in space-time continuum instead sends our stalwart hero back to the Viking Age.
In the very same summer where “Avengers: Age of Ultron” includes Thor among its character roster, “Jurassic World” promises loads of dinosaur action, and “Terminator: Genisys” brings in time-travel and killer robots, “Kung Fury” delivers all of the above, on top of a renegade cop battling Kung Fu Nazis! Sandberg takes his nostalgic 80’s action throwback a step further by degrading the film grain to resemble a VHS cassette that’s been played hundreds of times, ensuring that “Kung Fury” is the only 2015 film that you will be praising for its bad cinematography (or for just how gorgeous it makes bad cinematography look).
The film absolutely revels in its own silliness and that extends to the action scenes. The opening of the film, in which our hero battles an anthropomorphized video arcade console, would have been a marvelous blend of over-the-top action and crazy, self-aware comedy all by itself, but “Kung Fury” is just getting started. Each new character or setting that makes its way into to “Kung Fury” is more unexpected than the last. Just when you think things can’t possibly get anymore ‘out there’ with the inclusion of Triceracop and the Kung Fuhrer, Kung Fury finds himself in the Viking Age with Thor, presumably taking a sabbatical from the Avengers, lending a helping hand (unfortunately, Stan Lee is AWOL from his requisite cameo).
When our hero finally makes it back to Nazi Germany, the film delivers what would easily qualify as the most comedic and creative Wushu exhibition of all time if it took place before a panel of judges – Kung Fury, in a single take, “Itchy and Scratchy”-ing his way through a platoon of Nazis to get to the Kung Furher. Sandberg really gets to show off his genuine martial arts skill and talent for action direction here, but he still keeps the laughs coming. At one point, our hero literally skateboards across the floor atop one of his enemies, and that’s probably one of the LESS hilariously gruesome ways he fights his way past the Third Reich!
Virtually every element of “Kung Fury” sounds like something from a game of “Which of these doesn’t belong here?”, and by embracing that very discordance, the film is as madcap and laugh-out-loud hilarious as “Black Dynamite” and just as much fun. In fact, by the time the end credits roll, with David Hasselhoff joining them, you’ll probably be dying for a crossover.
- The film was financed on a Kickstarter campaign in December 2013. With a goal of $200,000, the campaign ended on January 25, 2014 with $630,019 pledged by 17,713 backers. The names of the film’s Kickstarter backers can be seen on the wall of the police station at the 8:04 mark.
- Most of the film was shot at Sandberg’s office in Umeå, Sweden, with digital effects being used to replicate the streets of Miami.
- The single-take fight with Kung Fury and the Nazis is actually a combination of the primary take of David Sandberg’s moves with over 60 takes of individual extras attacking him.