Kung Phooey! Review

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A young Kung Fu disciple searches San Francisco for an ancient peach.


Sometimes you can guess the quality of a spoof simply from its character names. That Kung Phooey! features Sue Shee, Lo Fat and priests from the Shur-Li Temple does not bode well. But there is merit in this low-budget comedy, especially when the young Chinese-American cast and crew ridicule the stereotypes that are clearly close to home when they're working on other movies.

One clever gag has various bad guys line up at a ticket dispenser to get a number before attacking the lead, as villains in a martial arts flick always fight one after the other. Elsewhere, however, the rice paper-thin story of a young disciple searching San Francisco for an ancient peach is undermined by excruciating puns, sad sight gags and Xeroxed copies of original scenes, as if recognition alone were a form of humour.

More a satire of Asian American stereotypes than a genre parody, it's good to see a stance of pride being taken without resorting to schmaltz, but the humour is pretty unsophisticated even after you've taken the budget into account.