Kung Fury is a short, 31-minute comedy film. The project was successfully backed on Kickstarter, and the full project was released on YouTube yesterday. Kung Fury was written, directed by, and stars David Sandberg. The hilariously over-the-top comedy film is meant to be both a parody and a homage to 1980’s martial arts films. There is also a cameo from David Hasselhoff.
The plot of the film: Renegade kung-fu cop Kung Fury must hack back in time with the help of Hackerman, the best hacker there is, in order to kill Hitler, a kung-fu champion known as the Kung Fürher. There is also a laser blasting killer arcade machine, laser raptors, vikings with miniguns, Thor, and a triceratops who is a cop known as Triceracop.
Much like the film itself (which, sadly, while still being funded enough to make the short film as planned, failed to meet the feature film stretch goal of $1 million), I will keep this short. Kung Fury might be the single most hilarious film I have ever seen, feature-length or otherwise. If not the best comedy film I have ever seen, it is certainly up there, and you need to watch it right now! If you need any further convincing, here’s a few GIFs.
Kingsman: The Secret Service is a 2015 action-adventure spy comedy film directed by Matthew Vaughn and starring Colin Firth, Taron Edgerton, Samuel L. Jackson, and Mark Strong. It is based off the 2012 limited run comic book series The Secret Service by Mark Millar. This is the third time Vaughn has been involved in a Mark Millar adaption, and his second time directing one; Vaughn having directed the critically acclaimed superhero comedy Kick-Ass, as well as producing its disappointing sequel. Vaughn is also the executive producer on the upcoming superhero film Fantastic Four, helmed by Chronicle director Josh Trank and inspired by Millar’s run on the iconic superhero team. I rather enjoy Millar’s work and their film adaptions, as long as they are directed by Vaughn, so I am hoping this team-up of sorts continues on.
I have read The Secret Service, and despite the six issue series being disappointingly short, I enjoyed it very much. There are a lot of seemingly needless changes that were made between the comic and the film (standard operating procedure these days). Fortunately, these changes were needless because they were extremely inconsequential to the storyline. The film follows Eggsy, the street smart, foulmouthed son of a deceased Kingsman. The Kingsmen are an elite group of secret agents who operate out of a secret headquarters umderneath a tailor shop. Eggsy meets Harry, a Kingsman who’s life was saved when Eggsy’s father sacrificed himself. Harry owes Eggsy’s family, and also sees potential in the brilliant and talented Eggsy, held back by an abusive stepfather and other factors. Eggsy goes on a journey to become the next Kingsman.
Kingsman and the comic upon which it is based are love letters to the Moore-era Bond films. Samuel L. Jackson is a megalomanic millionaire with a lisp bent on culling humanity in the most hilariously ridiculous way possible. He also has an attractive female henchman with knives for legs… or something, I can’t really tell.
There are many overt references to 007 as well.
Part of me would call Kingsman a parody, but it doesn’t make fun of spy movies, it reveres them and the fun people had with them. Kingsman is to spy movies as Scream is to horror. They are self-aware to the fullest extent, and they are extremely entertaining because of it. Kingsman is hilarious, not because it says “the supervillian’s evil plan is stupid. Laugh at it!” It is hilarious because it doesn’t try to be a parody, if that makes sense. It doesn’t derive humor from the fact that Harry has a bulletproof knockout gun umbrella shield. It instead opts for the traditional approach to humor, something I greatly appreciated.
In terms of acting, I have to say I have no complaints. Mark Strong is great, Samuel L. Jackson pulls the villain off effortlessly, and newcomer Taron Edgerton is surprisingly very good and I hope to see him in more films. The real star, though, is Colin Firth. He is certainly the highlight of the film. I don’t think Firth, who was a strong contender to play 007 himself on more than one occasion, is acting when playing the upper crust bada** Harry Hart.
That’s another great thing about this movie. Matthew Vaughn’s hyper-stylized brand of action makes a triumphant return un Kingsman. The action sequences in this film are supremely entertaining. Sure, he speeds up the camera and resorts to CGI trickery when necessary, but you will not care. The three minute long church sequence set to Lynyrd Skynrd’s Free Bird is arguably a work of art.
Kingsman uses its talented cast, director, and writers to deliver one of the most shamelessly entertaining films of the year so far, and it came out the very beginning of February, at that! Perhaps that is why it was so financially successful, news which made me very happy. I am eagerly anticipating the sequel. Matthew Vaughn must return to direct this one, or I will end up severely disappointed.
Leon: The Professional is a 1994 French action film starring Jean Reno, Natalie Portman, and Gary Oldman. It is directed by Luc Besson, also known for The Fifth Element, Transporter 1 & 2, and many other fun, stylistic thriller films.
Leon is a simplistic assassin living in an apartment across the hall from Matilda and her terrible family. Her Dad’s a drug dealer, her sister’s a jerk, and her mom’s a ditz. The only member of Matilda’s family she doesn’t hate is her brother, who has no lines in the entire film, which I found odd, not that it matters.
Matilda’s family is murdered by the Beethoven-loving psychopathic DEA agent Norman Stansfield. Matilda was spared after going to buy some groceries. Stansfield is a legendary villain, and he is actually considered an acclaimed role for Oldman. You can see why. His antics were intended to bring an amount of comic relief, and many of the character’s lines from the film are now popular internet memes.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is not a perfect movie by any stretch of the imagination. It is not Oscar material; it is, in fact, a flawed movie. But it’s amazing. The story begins with a raid on the last remaining HYDRA stronghold. It has been criticized for being very cluttered and a little bit confusing. I would agree with this; Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanoff are an item, despite The Avengers leaving them off as friends/colleagues, with no indication of romance as far as I could tell.
One of the things most Marvel Studios projects have is charm and a sense of humor. From the outset, especially having dived into the dark world of Daredevil less than a month earlier, I was very glad to see Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, and Jeremy Renner spouting some very charming, funny dialogue. The action sequence was very entertaining and comic-like.
Aside from the Banner/Romanoff thing, I feel another pitfall was the twins, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff. Not their characters, but the fact that they were written quite thin, I feel. There’s not much for them to do except ruin The Avengers’ day. There was a lot of wasted potential there that I feel could have easily been tapped into if the film simply had a longer runtime. In fact, I feel all of the issues I had with the film would most likely have been solved if Joss Wheedon had stuck with his original 3 and 1/2 hour runtime. That sounds long, (OK, that is really long) but would anyone seriously have minded? I certainly wouldn’t have. A lot of great movies are 3-hours long, I feel Wheedon could’ve easily cut out 20 minutes, and then left the rest, three hours 10 minutes is manageable, right? That extra forty minutes would’ve left a lot of breathing room, because I feel a part of the problem as a whole is that the movie never stops, ever.
Tony Stark and Banner discover Ultron, and decide to check him out. Literally the second they leave the room, Ultron wakes up and immediately decides in order to maintain order, humanity must be culled in true Skynet fashion. He escapes, and the rest of the movie is a chase from South Africa to Eastern Europe, with a small amount of character development brought out through nightmares and such.
Speaking of South Africa, another pitfall is the promising reveal and disappointing and confusing disappearance of the king of mocap himself, Oscar-winner Andy Serkis. The character of Ulysess Klaw seems extremely interesting, and I am psyched that he is most likely going to be heavily featured in the upcoming film Black Panther. You don’t get to see much of him in Age of Ultron, though. He shows up, a very intriguing, intimidating conversation with the Maximoff twins, and then just kind of goes away. That’s it. One of the most overlooked and talented actors in modern Hollywood, and he’s there for five minutes, not even.
So yeah, plot and pacing is not this movie’s strong suit, at least not in the theatrical cut. What it does have in spades, is straight up B.A. action, very well done CGI, charming characters (Granted, most of the characters were previously fleshed out over the course of the preceding ten films), easter eggs, and funny jokes.
The Hulkbuster vs. Hulk fight was great. I’d like to mention that one thing I’d really like to commend the film for is it’s acknowledgement of destruction and innocent bystanders. A big issue a lot of people had with Man of Steel was it’s attitude of “what civilians? They don’t matter!” In Ultron, it’s very apparent that the Hulk willingly causes probably billions in property damages and probably quite a few civilian casualties, an event that will probably come into play in Civil War that has a tremendous effect on Bruce Banner’s psyche.
The coolest part of the movie for me was probably The Vision. I will attempt not to spoil much about him for you, but I hope to see a lot more of him. I’ll leave it at that.
Despite a rushed and somewhat incoherent plot, the exciting visuals, promising and charming characters both new and old, and dialogue by the always sarcastic Joss Wheedon, I am happy to say this might be the most entertaining Marvel movie thus far. It’s not as “good” as The Winter Soldier, sure, but I feel it is a sight to behold nonetheless. Speaking of which, the Russo Brothers moving to replace Joss Wheedon as the “general managers” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a great move. The pair behind not only The Winter Soldier, but also Community and Arrested Development, have the potential to make Infinity War Parts 1 & II legendary films and possibly solidify the MCU’s place in pop culture
Script (Dialogue): A
Fan Service: A
Final Grade: B+