This past summer, the movie theaters were filled with several sequels and reboots for prominent film franchises of the past, including continuations of Mad Max, The Terminator, and Jurassic Park.However, before any of these even hit the screens, an independent original short film with a similar nostalgic theme was released: Kung Fury. Directed and written by Swedish filmmaker David Sandberg, the half-an-hour-long picture is a comical throwback to the classic action and martial arts movies that formerly dominated the big screen.
The movie is set in an alternate version of 1985, where the laws of reality rarely apply. The plot revolves around a Miami cop named Kung Fury (Sandberg) who, after witnessing the death of his partner at the hands of a rogue ninja, is simultaneously struck by lightning and bitten by a cobra, granting him incredible kung fu powers. After dispatching his partner’s murderer, he vows to use his new skills to defeat all crime and evil.
Things take an interesting turn, however, when a time-traveling Adolf Hitler (Jorma Taccone, The Lego Movie) arrives in the present and attacks the city, intent on altering the timeline and destroying Kung Fury, the only man prophesied to defeat him. Faced with this new threat, Kung Fury enlists the aid of his new partner Triceracop (Triceratops) and computer genius Hackerman (Leopold Nilsson). Together, they must battle through time to stop Hitler and his army of darkness from taking over the world.
Created as a homage to the movies of the 1980s, Kung Fury incorporates many elements of the era, including stereotypical street punks, arcades, extreme hacking, a retro-synthwave musical score, and even a cameo by David Hasselhoff (Knight Rider) as the Hoff 9000 computer in Kung Fury’s Lamborghini. The style is reminiscent of the raw action movies of the time as well, featuring plenty of the over-the-top explosions, gravity-defying martial arts stunts, nonstop action, and hilarious one-liners that formerly defined the genre.
Sandberg, known mostly for his work on commercials and music videos, was inspired by the movies he grew up with to make Kung Fury in 2012. Though entirely crowdfunded, he managed to scrape together an impressive $630,000 for the project. Due to the limited budget, most of the special effects had to be shot using CGI, but Sandberg makes an impressive use of modern technology to create a unique and aesthetic environment in every scene. Practical effects and miniatures were used as well, and the film’s clarity was even softened and augmented at times to create the look of old-time videotape footage.
Officially released on May 28th, Kung Fury received heavily positive reviews, with many critics praising its sentimental appeal. It was so popular, in fact, that Sandberg is currently working to reshoot it into a full-length feature film for a future theatrical release. In the meantime, if you have access to YouTube (on which the entire film has been made available for free), are a fan of old-style action, and want thirty minutes of hysterical gung-ho adventure, then grab your Ray-Bans and give Kung Fury a try.