David Sandberg must appreciate 80’s action movies more than anyone in history. His film, Kung Fury – which he produced, wrote, directed, and stars in – was released for free on YouTube, and comes from one of the most successful independent crowdfunding campaigns for a movie to date. Highly anticipated, the film was seeking only $200,000 for this labor-of-love and ode to 80’s cop flicks, but the Kickstarter brought in almost $700,000 after being backed by almost 18,000 people. Clearly there was a lot of love for this film, even before it was realized as a full feature.
The movie itself is clearly not meant to be taken seriously, from its plot, to its purposeful over-acting, to its classic 80’s soundtrack (featuring a theme song by David Hasselhoff, because of course it does), Kung Fury is everything you want from your 80’s cheesy cop flick, all crammed into 30 minutes. Clunky computers, DeLoreans, old-school digital effects and lasers, extreme blood and gore, arcades, and video game-style montages are all present, and they all work flawlessly to make this short film one of the greats.
We follow the story of Kung Fury, a cop whose partner was killed by a ninja while on the job. Before he’s able to take revenge, Fury is struck by lightning while simultaneously being bitten by a cobra, giving him visions of kung-fu, and transforming him into a master martial arts supercop. When Kung Fury later learns that Hitler has come forward in time from Nazi Germany to kill him and become the new Kung Fury himself, our hero decides he needs to go back in time and fight Hitler before he has a chance to travel through time. Enlisting the help of Masterhacker, Kung Fury “hacks time,” heading to Nazi Germany, but accidentally goes back too far, to the “Viking Age,” where he gets help from machine gun-totting viking women, a tyrannosaurus rex, and Thor to get to Germany and battle Hitler.
If all of this sounds ridiculous and convoluted, it’s not – but it kind of is, but that’s the whole point of the thing. Anyone familiar with 80’s cop flicks knows that they pile on story after story, sometimes forgetting about entire subplots to work on something else. Kung Fury neatly ties everything together (with a cliffhanger open enough for a sequel, naturally), but it still lovingly mocks everything great about cheesy direct-to-video VHS releases from the 80’s. Hell, it even has an animated segment à la GI Joe or M.A.S.K. where Kung Fury tried to arrest his spirit animal (the cobra) in Heaven.
The movie is hilarious from start to finish, and even during the parts that weren’t laugh-out-loud funny (of which there were plenty,) I still found myself smiling and the absurdity of it all. With characters like Triceracop, a Triceratops dinosaur in a cop outfit with an English gentleman’s accent, how can you really not be amused? I absolutely loved this movie, and am extremely happy that they hit their campaign goals with enough stretch that they fleshed out the short into a much longer 30 minutes. Their stretch goals also allowed them to release the film for free in its entire, uncut form on YouTube.
Filled with plenty of wink-wink nods to cop flicks and the 80’s in general (The Power Glove, anyone?), Kung Fury is definitely a must-watch for any fan of the 80’s, superb action flicks, over-the-top cop dramas, comedies, or – if there are really any of you out there – David Hasselhoff. The only fault I could even find with this movie is that it’s too short. Let’s get a full feature of this going anytime, Laser Unicorns!
Kung Fury was produced and released by Laser Unicorns and is available to watch for free on YouTube.