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  • Karaoke

Kung Faux Volume 1

Madman Cinema/AV Channel . R4 . COLOR . 59 mins . MA15+ . PAL


Okay, so youíre in the TV studio one day and you see a bunch of scrappy old karate movies from Asia circa 1970 sitting there collecting dust. What do you do? Do you glance at them and cast a humourous smirk to a friend nearby, or do you pick them up, trim them of the boring bits, add ghetto slang voiced by hip-hop rap stars and re-market them as funny-arse redubbed TV shows?

For the purposes of this review Iíll assume you chose the latter.

For thatís whatís happened here. Mic Neumann, creator and director, has breathed new life into some of these mouldy and poorly acted classics by setting everything in the projects and using black folks to voice a very funny program. Sure itís been done before, but not with this bent. Wizened Chinese warriors become bowl-smoking potheads, hot-headed punks becomeÖ well, hot-headed punks and delicate Asian women become gangland hos and porn stars.

Itís good fun, itís completely vulgar and itís cheaply produced, but one thing itís got going for it is itís funny. I know I keep saying that, but it truly is. If you like that sort of thing, which I do. Reminiscent of the classic D-Generation Olden Days and Bargearse from The Late Show of the early '90s in terms of outrightly insulting the original shows, there is also a feeling of a deeper respect for these old movies. Itís not so much a Hercules Returns as this has been lifted direct from TV and even includes the ad breaks with ads! And these are of a shithouse quality too, I gotta say. Up here in Brisbane we have a television station named Briz 31 which is practically public access, and these commercials are very reminiscent of the cheap ones screened there. However, that doesnít limit the fun and perhaps, in some subtle way, even makes it all the more raw. I can imagine what a show like this would look like polished up for the mainstream market and it would be about as funny as Full House was (when oh when is that coming out as a box set?).

"You fight good! I bring in my panties for you!"

If youíve ever wanted to see what Asian cinema used to look like, this is probably the only place these days youíll get to see it on DVD. It also goes to show that themes are common around the world in any sort of show. Thereís plenty of revenging and avenging going on in here, but thatís good, it brings on the very funny fight scenes in which we; a) learn many of the ghettoís best slang and b) witness some returns to the old Batman show of old with added comic expressive noises like Stun! and Played! and Schooled!. These are much more fun than the old Bif!, Sock! and Thwack!

I enjoyed it, although some may find it hard to look past the grainy old footage and the liberal spattering of swears throughout. However, Iím sure this doesnít even look for a second like something youíd buy for your mum on Motherís Day.


Well, the original film stock totally sucks. Thereís shit all over it. That being said, the clean-up crew have gone to work bringing new editing techniques into the game and these are brightly coloured and keep the action interesting. Stripping a 90-odd minute movie down to 22 minutes certainly removes the slow bits and this works in the showís favour. Whatís worse is the original footage seems to come from video stock though and is mostly delivered in pan and scan, so thereís always a slow focus on the dude doing the talking. Artefacts, too, abound on the original stock, but that canít be helped and does contribute well to the old school look and feel of the visuals.

Oh and the show can run for two lengths: 59 minutes with commercials and 44 minutes without.


The music is awesome, thereís no doubting that. Scored and designed by Julian Bevan, thereís scads oí fresh beats here, yíall. He uses samples, new tracks, old tracks, quick musical vignettes of his own design and together they come together to keep the show moving along at a steady pace. Thereís also room for some musical humour thrown in too which is always good in a vehicle of this nature.

Dialogue is mostly clear, though some slang gets a little muffled and mumbled. Delivered in Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, the whole soundstage moves around constantly, keeping character voices separated and more easily distinguished. Sound effects are fun and bring a computer game flavour (sorry, flava) to the show that also helps pace it. The whole show does run under a video game theme where we climb through the stages before the final words of each episode:


The sound is among the highlights here, but be careful to listen out for more subtle humour hidden as afterthoughts or barely heard comments as characters are leaving a scene or whatever. Very funny.


Not much here, but oh well. Firstly, as noted, you can watch the show with or without commercials. Thatís pretty cool, but some of the ads are worth checking out, if only for their cheapness and bad acting.

Kung Faux karaoke gives us the show in three modes:
Partially deleted dialogue
Alternate deleted dialogue and
Completely deleted dialogue.

This, of course, gives us a chance to write our own dialogue for the show or make our own show up entirely. But youíll need others, Iím guessing. In fact, thatís how Iíd recommend watching this DVD, with others. Itíll be much funnier still that way.

Four trailers for other Madman releases include Kung Faux Volume One, Kung Faux Volume Two, Stoked and the awesomely fun Chlorine.

Plus thereís an Easter Egg, though this is given away on the cover, so it doesnít really count. This is a music video of a Swedish hip-hop star Petter, performing Saker & Ting, whatever that means.


This is one for those among us who enjoy such silliness and arenít easily offended by swearing. I found numerous laughs here and thoroughly enjoyed the show, save for a few of the ads that were crap. However, they do add to the authenticity, if not the value of the release. This is the kind of show you can pick up and watch an episode of every now and then and find a new laugh or two within in itís eminently watchable format.


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      And I quote...
    "Rehashed isnít always a bad thing, as old Asian cinema is given new life with hip-hop superstars adding their own brand of ghetto slang to these B-grade films and making them funny. Well, funnier."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-T29S32S 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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