Oh no… I may have pushed this luck with the kung fu and martial arts movies one week too far.
This… is Kung Fu Brother. You know you’re in troubling waters when the following things can be said about your movie:
1. There is a discrepancy in the release date: Amazon says 2016, IMDb says 2014.
2. IMDb’s cumulative score for the movie is a whopping 2.7/10
3. Ron Hall, star of Vampire Assassin, is in your movie. You can find reviews of this here and here.
4. The guy on your DVD cover looks like he just literally lept out of the N64 game Goldeneye and is kicking you with his gross bare foot.
And then there’s the trailer. The trailer looks like The Asylum decided to make a Rush Hour movie and then air it on a GeoCities page. It’s loaded with really dumb jokes. Throughout the entire trailer, we learn that, surprise, there is no one that looks anything like the computer animated character from the cover of the DVD in the entire movie. Instead, the titular “Kung Fu Brother” is, indeed, Ron Hall. And he’s only in a little bit of the trailer as the focus is on the Jackie Chan/Chris Tucker wannabes that seem to be the center of this dumb movie.
This movie is gonna hurt.
So the actual synopsis is as follows (from Amazon Prime): “Three cops and a female reporter are in hot pursuit of a murderer whose quest is to acquire the Sacred Kuji Denjo Scrolls. As the team traverses the globe in this perilous adventure, they can’t seem to avoid hand to hand combat battles, white knuckle car chases, sword fights, and explosive gun fights.”
Yay. I can’t wait to watch this movie. It’s a good thing it is, indeed, time for me to watch the movie.
The movie opens with an Asian man in a really shitty wig coming home from the store and finding that his wife or girlfriend or sex slave or whatever she is has been killed by a ninja. That ninja fights the Asian man and eventually decapitates him. I have to wonder if the shitty wig is because the dummy used to shoot the decapitation also had a shitty wig and this is actually perfect filmmaking by making sure the guy had the same shitty hair.
So cut to a cookout where this asshole is cooking the fucking shit out of the meat:
And if you are curious about whether or not I was being serious about this being the most perfect movie ever thanks to the continuity of the shitty hair, the dialog for the entire movie has an echo. It’s like I have two windows on my computer playing the same thing – like when I have the TV in the living room and the bedroom on at the same time and I can hear them both. It’s fucking terrible.
Oh good, photo-negative Steven Seagal is here.
This sack of rancid charisma is Nathan, played by Ron Hall. He’s… here… from Thailand? Working on the case? He’s going to work with the two main cops, Jack (played by the director, Marcus Aurelius – no relation to the Roman emperor) and Nick. Jack and Nick don’t like outsiders. They think this Kung Fu Brother is some dumb asshole with weird tendencies like not eating fast food, etc.
I hate this fucking movie.
Never mind that I can’t hear what people are saying because the audio on this is totally fucked, but apparently this is supposed to be a comedy…?????????? (< I cannot put enough question marks behind that statement.) Anyway, the main cops are assholes and lazy. Nate is a fucking stuck up prick.
After a stop at the fast food burger joint so Jack and Nick can eat some hamburgers and shit, Nick literally goes to take a shit – I mean it. Nick goes to the bathroom in this mini-mart and shits his brains out. Jack and Nate are left to deal with two women holding up a mini-mart. The movie shifts back and forth between watching Nick shit his brains out and watching Jack and Nate deal with the hold up.
I think I need to burn a timeout here.
Okay, so apparently what I thought was gonna be a rad blaxploitation kung fu movie turns out to be a shitty comedy with bad sound and very questionable video quality. Now I’m pissed, but let me explain the so-called “comedy”. Jack and Nick are maybe detectives? Nick’s dad is some sort of bad ass cop? He was in a situation where at some point Nate’s family took him in while in Bangkok? So he owes him a favor which is why Nate is now here? But you’re kinda left to think that maybe these cops, at least Jack and Nick, are really good at what they do. But they aren’t. After eating fast food, Nick wants to shit before doing anything else to solve these other previously mentioned mass murders that are going on around Chinatown in Los Angeles. Okay, I can see him doing that to fuck with Nate, sure. But then when there is the stickup, right in front of Nate and Jack, Jack refuses to do anything about it until he notices Nate has gone into the store. Why? Are we supposed to think Jack and Nick are good cops or bad cops? Why?
Also, I’m curious where this was filmed. Yes, this is Chinatown… I mean not the movie Chinatown which is waaaaaaay better than this. But this is supposedly taking place in Chinatown in L.A. Yet… Why do all the cars have the steering wheel on the wrong side?
I mean… One might say that this was not filmed in this country.
Ugh… Whatever. The cops go to investigate another murder at a dojo. In the course of looking around, Nate goes into an under…ground…cave…beneath…the…dojo? What? Somehow, some bad guy down there kills Nick’s dad – which they think Nate did. What? At a completely unattended funeral (because the movie had no money for extras dressed as cops to have a big, elaborate cop funeral – like in real life), Nick and Jack take an indefinite leave of absence to grieve.
They go to Thailand and start asking questions. And, like a couple assholes, get arrested by the local cops. Nick and Jack find out that Nate was behind them being arrested and brought to the station. Nate clears himself by saying he was the cop’s son. What?
Anyway, Jack, Nick, and Nate work together to defeat the killer.
While, yes, I do understand that the three cops do indeed work together to find the killer, I have to also admit that this movie’s story is completely incomprehensible. It probably doesn’t help that the sound is totally fucked and I can’t really hear exactly what’s going on, but the story is both convoluted and overly simple. I feel like that should completely and totally break the universe, and maybe it did. Maybe that’s how those of us from the universe that the kids’ series was called Berenstein Bears fell through into this universe where the spelling of that series is all fucked up.
Also, apparently, Nick, Nate, and Jack are all brothers. Their dad, which was a crusty old white dude, had sex with all their moms. Awesome. Glad we got that worked out.
Nate hangs out with this old kung fu master guy. After Nate and the old dude do some sweet moves with staffs and stuff, they all talk about wisdom and how they all have things they need to work out and whatever. The trio leaves and the old guy is attacked and ultimately killed by our murderer – who might be the devil? Or some kind of demon? Or both. Probably both.
A super hot reporter girl that has been following around the murders shows up in Thailand. She explains that these killings are being done by a “Weirding Warrior”…? I don’t know if that is the correct spelling. “Weirding” is something in Dune. Apparently they are also a secret cabal of killers who are after these stupid scrolls that grant power or something. Of course, Nate knows all about this stuff, and she learned it by doing an internet search. Nick and Jack? Two cops who should have access, or know-how, to obtain information? They don’t know shit. They also don’t believe the power in the scrolls that this bad guy is going after.
I will give this movie a compliment in a couple areas. At one point in this movie, there is a big car chase through the streets of whatever city they are in. It’s kind of a decently fun and exciting scene. Another compliment I can give is that Ron Hall is not without some skill with martial arts. He’s got a couple fairly competent scenes in this movie where he can show off some moves. The last compliment I have is one I’m scared to give the movie. This is likely filmed entirely in Thailand. I cautiously say that the various ladies in this movie are hot. I say cautiously because they may all be boys. I actually am somewhat confident that there are only like 3 or 4 actual women in Thailand.
I could have my numbers wrong, though.
Then out of the blue, Nick tells Karen, the hot news reporter lady, that he “loves her” and whatnot. These two characters have no history with one another – other than he being kind of a dick to her about her putting her nose into all these killings they are investigating. Oh, and also she finds her long lost mother in some shanty town?
What the fuck is happening in this movie? This is one of those movies that has a bunch of bullshit about family, and roots, and honor, and how Americans need to be more careful about how they use their resources and shit. All these things are fine and dandy and whatnot, but it doesn’t have the competency to connect all the dots. It’s stupid joke scene followed by kung fu followed by strip club and repeat.
So the bad guy shows up at the strip club this movie’s visited a few times, because sure. The owner of the club had the final scroll which he tattooed onto the back of some guy. So the murderer is still searching for that final scroll that, if he finds it, will grant him marvelous powers and shit.
Okie dokie, we’re at our big, grand finale. The bad guy has killed Jack’s stripper girlfriend. There’s a ridiculous moment in which Jack is going through a little box of her belongings – which was mostly a g-string and a note he gave her saying he liked her ass or something. He gets called by the guy who had the tattoo of the final scroll inked onto him and he pretends to be Nate so he can find out where this guy is. Unfortunately, the bad guy finds the tattooed dude and peels the flesh off his back to obtain the final scroll and final key to these supposedly mystical powers. Nathan confronts the bad guy – how he knows he’s at this place in particular, the movie doesn’t tell us. But they do some karate and just when you think that Nathan is going to lose and be killed, he doesn’t.
Nope. He wins the fuckin’ movie because Nick and Jack are able to distract the bad guy so Nate can deliver the deathblow with the weapon that kills mystical kung fu bad guys. Nick and Jack prepare to return to the States. Karen decides to stay behind to catch up for a little bit with her mom, but so Nick doesn’t leave completely empty-handed, Karen asks him to marry her. The movie ends with super awkward slideshow pictures of Nick and Karen’s wedding. It almost feels like the actors, James Huang and Rona Lee Par actually got married and the movie was filmed around it. But the really awkward photos don’t stop there as they then have a bunch of pics play through the credits of these really skinny, and likely exceptionally cheap to hire, Thai dudes standing around the wedding cake Karen had made for her and Nick. And I’m not entirely sure anyone in the crew or the extras really knew any English to understand what the fuck is happening in the movie and to them personally.
These are all real things that happen in this movie.
This one… Oof, this one is bad. Like I said, it wants to be more than just a simple and dumb action movie with kung fu and mysticism. It wants to be about all that deeper bullshit that idiots care about in movies and elevate crappy movies because they are tricked into believing that we should give a fuck about people’s family or love affairs, etc. It is a pretty spectacular example of how simply adding kung fu to your movie doesn’t instantly make it better. No really, you may have believed that all your lives, but it is simply not true. You need more than kung fu to make something shitty into something awesome.
Alright, well, let’s actually do some blaxploitation next week, shall we? I’m gonna dig deep into the vaults of awesome 70s action with a story about a man who moonlights as a super rad pimp in the 1975 flick The Tangerine Man!