Premiering tomorrow on Swedish television and El Rey Network is Kung Fury, the over-the-top retro-cheesy 80s throwback actioner that features Adolf Hitler, Vikings, Thor, dinosaurs and David Hasselhoff.
Written and directed by David Sandberg, Kung Fury is a 30 minute action comedy, with plenty of fantasy overtones and sci-fi concepts, created as an homage to 1980s action and martial arts films. The 630.000 dollar film was initially intended to be a one million dollar feature, as the crowdfunding campaign exceeded the initial 200.000 dollar goal, but the final version runs 30 minutes, and will debut publicly on May 28th.
The plot revolves around Miami police detective and martial artist Kung Fury who timetravels from the 1980s to World War 2 to kill Adolf Hitler, aka “Kung Führer”, to avenge his friend, who was killed by the Nazi leader. An error in the time machine sends him further back to the Viking Age. With the help of a female Viking and the Norse god Thor, Kung Fury continues his time travels in order to put an end to the Third Reich once and for all.
The film’s hyped trailer, which feels like a pumped version of the Norwegian retro action comedy Norwegian Ninja, presents Kung Fury as inspired by 80s TV shows such as Automan and Street Hawk, and films like Karate Kid, Tronand Die Hard. Both the trailer and the official music video, starring Knight Rider and Baywatch star David Hasselhoff, have been huge viral hits with over 10 million views each on Youtube. Fan reactions have been massive, with comments like “Kung Fury will be the best movie ever produced”, “these guys need to direct, like, all movies” and “totally crushing on the wolf lady with the Gatling gun”. Others said “this was made in 2015 and captures every goddamn thing about the 80s” and “Jurassic Park meets Karate Kid meets Mad Maxmeets Transformers meets Conan meets Inglorious Basterds meetsCannonball Run” which describe the feeling of at least the video and the trailer, if not the movie itself; genre mash-ups galore, with no boundaries respected. The idea to get 80s TV icon David Hasselhoff onboard came when Sandberg decided the project needed new energy. He asked The Hoff’s agent if David could take a look at the trailer, which he loved. Hasselhoff flew in to Sweden to shoot the video, with music by Mitch Murder, a synth band labelled as “Sweden’s Jan Hammer”. -The 80s was about fun, action, and heroes. Kung Fury has it all! I’m honored to be involved with [director] David Sandberg, an up-and-coming force of nature in the animation digital entertainment world. The song is perfect for me as I really am, in real life, a True Survivor,said David Hasselhoff about his participation.
David Hasselhoff is however not the only celebrity to appear in the film. Body builder Andreas Cahling plays Thor, and comedians Magnus Betnér and Björn Gustafsson play Nazis. Betnér is also one of the movie’s backers. -Björn and I play two guards outside Hitler’s bunker. We spoke in Swedish but they added German in post-production. It was a bit bizarre to wear a Nazi uniform, but what doesn’t one do for the art, Betner said to Swedish Radio. Jorma Taccone from the hit TV series Girls plays another Nazi; the main man himself, Adolf. The Fuhrer was originally going to be a 3D animation, but as the project grew and Hitler’s part got bigger, it would be too expensive to create a digital Hitler. The film’s producer, Linus Andersson, said to SVT’s TV Heads podcast:-[We decided] that it would either have to be someone who looked exactly like Hitler, or we’d have to do a parody. Jorma’s name came up early in the brainstorming process. He said yes immediately after reading the script.
Simon Faber, the agent who took David Sandberg under his wings after watching the film’s trailer, said to Fastcocreate.com that “the director’s brilliance was making such an elaborate — and original — teaser [that] showcased not only Sandberg’s talent, but proved that there were enough story elements and characters in Kung Fury for a film. When you watch the trailer, you see a movie in it. It’s that legit.”
David Sandberg (29) is a Swedish commercials and music video director. In 2012, he quit his dayjob to focus on writing a script for an action comedy film set in the 1980s. Sandberg initially spent 5,000 dollars on producing and shooting footage, most of which became the first trailer. In December 2013, Sandberg opened a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the production of the film, after having reached the point where doing it all by himself was not possible. He had to sell his couch and TV to afford food and rent, but within 24 hours, the Kickstarter campaign had reached 200.000 dollars. Eventually, more than 17.000 backers joined the funding campaign.-People started calling. I freaked out. Hollywood was calling. Agents. Managers. It was crazy. I basically didn’t sleep for a week because of the adrenaline rush, Sandberg said to Fastcocreate.com
Sandberg shot the majority of the film, which was post-produced to intentionally look grainy like an 80s VHS video, at his office in Umeå, Sweden, using a Canon EOS 5D and a Sony FS700 for the raw footage. Digital effects and greenscreens were extensively used. As Sandberg could only afford one police uniform, he filmed the police precinct scene by shooting each extra separately and compositing them in the scene. Now, a feature version is being planned, with the support of Hollywood producers David Katzenberg and Seth Grahame-Smith (author of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Pride & Prejudice & Zombies), as well as a Kung Fury clothing line, graphic novel and merchandise.
Starring David Sandberg, Joanna Häggblom, Leopold Nilsson, Andreas Cahling, Henrik Arvidius, Magnus Betnér, Björn Gustafsson, Adrian Ciprian.
Kung Fury made its formal debut at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival this spring, and will premiere widely on YouTube (for free viewing), public broadcaster SVT2 in Sweden, and Robert Rodriguez’ El Rey network in the US on May 28th, 2015. Reruns on SVT2 and SVT24 on May 30th.