August 31st, 2009

TENACIOUS D IN THE PICK OF DESTINY (2006) ** ½

I don’t know if I’m exactly the right person to review this movie as I only have a passing knowledge of Tenacious D.  I have never seen their TV show and I’ve only heard a handful of their songs.  All I can tell you is if it’s funny or not.  The verdict:  I laughed more often than not.

 

The flick tells the story of how JB (Jack Black) left home at an early age to make his fortune in Hollywood.  There, he met KG (Kyle Gass) and after an initially rocky start, the two become best buds and form the band Tenacious D.  Since the landlord is on the verge of kicking them out of their apartment, Tenacious D enters an open mic night with the hopes of winning the prize money.  They don’t have much confidence that they’ll win, so they break into the Rock n’ Roll Museum to steal the fabled “Pick of Destiny” that was forged from Satan’s tooth.  This pick will supposedly give them insane musical abilities that should most assuredly allow them to win the contest.

 

Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny is at its best in the early scenes where Black and Gass befriend each other.  The musical numbers in these scenes have a lot of energy to them and Black and Gass make for a likable comedy team.  It’s somewhere around the halfway point where the movie kinda lost me.  (More specifically, the trippy Sasquatch scene.)  I’ve never done drugs in my entire life, but I guess they’re a prerequisite for this flick.  (In fact, the THX sound system parody “THC” should’ve been the tip-off that drugs were an essential part of the movie watching experience.)  I guess a lot of the jokes from that point on went over my head because my body wasn’t all doped up on South of the Border Lawnmower Shavings,  

 

If anything, the flick is still watchable thanks to the performances of the two leads.  You’ll also have fun spotting a slew of celebrity cameos (everyone from Ben Stiller to Tim Robbins) too.  It’s Gass though who gets the best line of the movie when he teaches Black how to do a “cock push-up”:  “You’ll never know when you have to fuck your way out of a tight situation!”

THE YOUNG MASTER (1980) ***

Tiger is an upstart karate student who shames his school by taking a bribe during the town’s “Lion Dance” contest.  The proud Master banishes Tiger from the school and he winds up joining a gang of hooligans.  Soon afterwards, the Master has a change of heart and sends his best student Dragon (Jackie Chan, who also directed) out to bring Tiger back.  Dragon quickly gets mistaken for Tiger, who is now a wanted criminal and a wily police inspector and his two karate chopping offspring repeatedly try to arrest him.  In the end, Dragon clears his name by taking on the gang’s big boss in a knock-down-drag-out fight.

 

I’ll admit, at first this movie had me more than a bit worried.  The flick took forever to get going and a fuck of a lot of time was spent on Jackie dancing around in a Paper Mache lion costume.  After slogging through the laborious set-up (it was roughly a half an hour before the first major fight scene), the movie finally found its footing.  From then on it was pretty much non-stop wall-to-wall Kung Fu.

 

The highlights include Jackie getting into a swordfight with a half a dozen cops, an epic battle with some wooden stools, and Jackie making clever use of an old woman’s skirt.  There’s also a pretty funny scene involving some quicksand too.  The music is some of the worst I’ve ever heard in a Kung Fu movie, but that’s OK because Jackie does an awesome job singing the excellent theme song, “Kung Fu Fighting Man”.