At first I thought I might not be the right person to review this parody of martial arts films given that I have seen so few of the kind of movies satirized. Truth is I have seen more take-offs of martial arts cinema than the actual item, so that may be enough to qualify, given that these spoofs have become popular enough that they may soon be considered their own genre.
Still, there would be those who would say that if I miss the humor, it is a result of being a novice, yet I sense that can be a cop-out. Then at the opening, you see on screen this disclaimer: “If you are not into kung-fu, sci-fi, comedy, rap music, or little people do not view this clip.” Considering the relatively narrow audience that would provide, I get the impression they were really hedging their bets.
That said, Abraham Lim has done a decent enough job with “Fists of Cheese” to be entertaining. He has a good grasp of the traditional filming techniques, mocking all the usual conventions found in chop-sockey cinema, from the washed out colors to the overly dramatic zooms and close-ups. The best parts of this short come mostly from the camera work that both pokes fun at, and pays tribute to the methods.
The story is mostly a hit-or-miss affair, with some bits of humor coming through. It concerns the usual student bent on avenging his master through a series of personal battles. The opening sequence sees our hero, Jian Bu, fighting off a horde of minuscule muscle men and vanquishing them all, except for one tiny combatant who remains affixed to his shin like an aroused terrier.
As his master lays waiting for death, he hands Jian Bu a compact disc player and sends him on a quest. Jian mistakes it as some kind of a time machine and spends the balance of our time trying to figure out how to operate it and trying to rid his leg of the attached little person.
In Pyo Cha plays the lead, and he has a good touch for comedy with many of the amusing aspects coming as a result of his timing and physical playfulness. The problem is that too often the jokes are easy and obvious. All the martial arts standards are served up, from the poor dubbing and scattershot editing to the infamous sound effects. (WARNING: Dreadfully bad use of wordplay to follow). Some of the stunts are so blatantly served up that at times I thought this should have been titled “Fists of Ham”!
On the balance it was not a failure in what it attempted, but it was also far from an unqualified success.