Well, here’s the sort of casting news you don’t see every day: Oscar-nominated Hollywood star Michael Fassbender will reportedly play a starring role in the feature-length version of Kung Fury
The original Kung Fury was a massive viral success from director and titular star David Sandberg, which raised more than $630,000 on Kickstarter in 2015 and turned it into one of the finest 30-minute satirical action comedies ever made. You can watch the original Kung Fury in its entirety on YouTube, and you really should—it’s a deft, visually incredible parody of hyper-macho action and martial arts movies of the ‘80s with an astounding degree of cartoonish creativity. Considering the shoestring budget, it’s one of the more impressively ambitious indie films in recent memory. It’s been viewed on YouTube alone almost 50 million times.
Still, no one would have expected the feature-length remake to net a star the likes of Fassbender. One might expect him to be playing the title character, but with Sandberg returning, we would instead expect Fassbender to be supporting. Is he Kung Fury’s partner? Or could he possibly be taking on a particularly ridiculous role as the lead antagonist, “kung fuhrer” Adolf Hitler? That role was played by The Lonely Island’s Jorma Taccone in the 2015 original, but it would certainly be an odd twist to see the German-born Fassbender in the role—particularly after he came to prominence in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds as a member of a team setting out to assassinate Hitler. Could this be full circle?
David Hasselhoff, who sang the ‘80s-style theme to the original short, will also appear in the feature-length version of Kung Fury. The film is set to shoot in Europe and the U.S. this summer. According to THR:
The action is set in 1985 Miami, which is kept safe under the watchful eye of Kung Fury, the greatest damn cop of all time. Kung Fury’s Thundercops are the ultimate police force assembled from across history to defeat the villainous Kung Fuhrer, Adolf Hitler. After the tragic death of a Thundercop causes the group to disband, a mysterious villain emerges from the shadows to aid in the Fuhrer’s quest to attain the ultimate weapon. Kung Fury must travel through space and time itself to save his friends, defend the prestigious Miami Kung Fu Academy and defeat evil once and for all.
We have to at least ask the obvious question: Is a feature-length version of Kung Fury truly necessary, or a good idea? Rarely has a concept been captured and executed so well as in the original 30-minute short. Will the joke really be sustainable when the running time is stretched out to 90 minutes? Will they be able to replicate the charming chintziness of the visual effects and art style? Hopefully Sandberg doesn’t lose sight of what made his first film so successful.