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By Joshua Jabcuga
September 30, 2004
KWOON II: Enter the KWOON (contest, that is): Wherein Josh Jabcuga reviews the KWOON DVD and gives you the chance to see what all the fuss is about by winning one of ten free copies of the KWOON DVD (bundled with a cool KWOON T-shirt).
The Devil may hate kung fu, but I love KWOON. It’s giddy fun. Even a bit, dare I say, subversive. What may have started out as a lark, - a bunch of buddies making their very own kung fu movies, - morphed into a legitimate endeavor, and a project worthy of everyone’s support.
The clever taglines for KWOON are “Bad Acting, Good Kung Fu,” and “It’s Like Porno but with Kung Fu instead of Sex.” You’ll see on one of the DVD extras that even porn grandmaster RON JEREMY is a fan, and how could he not be? KWOON is infectious, good-natured fun that’ll appeal to fans of TBS’ “Movies for Guys who like Movies,” and their kid brothers. (Sorry if that sounded a bit too EBERT-ish; I’m trying to be serious here.) If you dig action flicks where the fight choreography is intense and plausible, and even comical in parts, then KWOON is for you. My favorite bit in the series is when someone is tossed across a row of those blue inflatable exercise ab/stretching-workout balls. It gets me every time, and even JACKIE CHAN would be proud.
Now, about those taglines. Sure, the acting is, well, sometimes Porno-level quality (What?! You look at me like that’s a bad thing). The tongue-in-cheekiness and the occasionally stiff-as-a-board performances are part of the show’s appeal and charm. And while KWOON creator TOD ROY’S martial arts pals aren’t exactly SHAKESPERIAN-trained thespians, they’d still kick KEANU REEVES’ ass in a hot “Neo” minute (both in terms of acting and tussling). Ah, but that’s being too hard on the KWOON crew. They’re having a blast, and watching them, it’s contagious. KWOON is one of those things that’ll make you smile at the sheer inventiveness and playfulness of the production. Often KWOON is campy, where you roll your eyes and smirk. The rest of the time the series is simply balls-to-the-wall cool. It’s a winning combination of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000, POWER RANGERS (but with cameos by hot chicks, and much better action sequences…OK, maybe we should scratch that POWER RANGERS comparison), the original TOXIC AVENGER by TROMA STUDIOS, SHAW BROTHERS chop-socky flicks (thanks to fight choreography by the more than able, surprisingly camera natural ONASSIS PARUNGAO, who plays the unofficial KWOON leader “O”), THE THREE STOOGES (if they had earned black belts in kung fu), and a 7-11 Big Gulp overflowing with a Cherry Slurpee.
The KWOON “porno” slogan may be genius, but don’t think for a second that the DVD is sub par cable access muck, or a bunch of teenage EL MARIACHI wannabes running around playing “pretend” with daddy’s beat-up old camcorder. The production here is solid, professional work, and it’s not to be sold short. So the guys weren’t exactly working with a twenty million dollar budget, but your sister’s not exactly ANGELINA JOLIE either. TODD ROY took his stock market earnings, a lot of hard work and dedication, and tossed it into the wind, hoping to make some of his dreams a reality. It’s like my pops used to say, or was it JOHN WAYNE, “You might be able to talk the talk, but can you walk the walk…now put up or shut up.” And TODD ROY did exactly just that: he took a big gamble, and he did something. I’m sure it paid off for him personally, in regard to creative fulfillment. Financially, well, that may be another uphill ninja battle entirely. It’s mavericks like TODD ROY and his KWOON concept that deserve your support, though, and that Hollywood should wise up to and take a gamble on. There would be no KEVIN SMITH, no ROBERT RODRIQUEZ, no TREY PARKER or MATT STONE, no uh…JENNA JAMESON, if some studio suit didn’t roll the dice.
I first came in contact with TODD ROY about a week before the ’04 Comicon in San Diego. He told me to come out to his booth and check out the KWOON DVD that he was pimping. He promised me it wouldn’t suck (I think those were his exact words). I wasn’t expecting much from TODD ROY, to be frank. I figured I’d see some lame ass song-and-dance routine hawking some amateur’s wares (well, some amateur besides me, that is), but I figured, ah, what the hell, he’d be like everyone else there, give him a shot. When I made it to the KWOON booth, though, I was pleasantly surprised. TODD ROY was there working the crowd like all the other vendors there trying to suck away attention from the giant X-Wing that LUCAS had on display, as well as that hot chick in a bikini in a glass case promoting, ah, well, what was it she was there for…oh yeah, SPECIES 3. (And by the way, if you’re reading this, Lisa, stop calling. It’s getting a little obsessive, don’t you think?)
The thing that was different with KWOON, and TODD ROY in particular, was the energy of this guy’s sales punch. And while he had a good presence that drew the geeks in, it was his product that ultimately kept them glued to the KWOON booth, like he had a twenty-three-year-old CARRIE FISHER smeared in hot butter and Junior Mints on display. While there was, in fact, no such Princess Leigha Orgasm on display, there was TODD and his quick-witted, lightning in a bottle personality, and he seemed to be recruiting new KWOON fans by the minute.
It was at the booth that I was introduced to fight choreographer and KWOON player ONASSIS PARUNGAO, and after respectfully declining an impromptu kung fu lesson that TODD ROY offered to set up for me with the mighty “O,” I observed the crowd for a few brief seconds. I turned to my girlfriend and said, “You know, this guy TODD should have his own TV show.” It’s one of those comments that typically doesn’t mean anything. You know the kind, those statements you kind of toss out there sometimes to describe some of the zanier characters you come across in life. The thing was, in TODD ROY’s case, the guy really does deserve his own TV show, and essentially, he already has one with the KWOON DVD. I just hope it reaches the sizeable audience it deserves, because it’s the kind of show I’d love to see more of each and every week. KWOON is one of those rarities that would be just as at home nestled somewhere on Saturday mornings between MUCHA LUCHA and YU-GI-OH (albeit after a few minor tweaks), or most certainly on Saturday nights saddled between RENO 911 and CRANK YANKERS. It pretty much kicks the ass of anything on TV right now, and that’s not even factoring in the series’ recurring gag of bloody nipples.
THE SQUIB CENTRAL KWOON DVD AND T-SHIRT CONTEST:
Want to see what all the fuss is about? Too broke or cheap (sorry, frugal) to buy the damn KWOON DVD on your own? Enjoy free swag? Then enter the Squib Central KWOON DVD and T-shirt contest, bucko!
Those crazy bastards at KWOON are giving away a copy of the KWOON DVD (available at the KWOON website and finer stores) along with a KWOON T-shirt to TEN lucky winners. All you have to do is shoot an e-mail to me at JoshuaJabcuga@aol.com with your name, address, and shirt size. The first ten replies will score the goods.
JOSH JABCUGA interviews KWOON series creator TODD ROY in last week’s Squib Central
The official home of KWOON.
When not waxing on and, er, waxing off, Josh Jabcuga can be found writing Squib Central, published nearly every Thursday, exclusively at www.moviepoopshoot.com.
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