kung fu elliotComing to theatres today, Friday, February 20: KUNG FU ELLIOT

Matthew Bauckman and Jaret Belliveau portrait of an inept provincial would-be action hero debuted at Slamdance last year, winning the award for best doc. Since then, it has screened at Sarasota, Hot Docs, Awesome Fest, Fantasia, and Fantastic, among other festivals.

The titular subject is an immature aspiring filmmaker who has two very bad homemade action films to his name that may or may not have won awards at local Canadian festivals. He ropes in his put-upon girlfriend and several friends to participate in his endeavors, filmed on the cheap on weekends in parks and featuring hokey martial arts and bargain basement stunts and FX. The film ostensibly follows him as he tries to up the ante in making his third film, BLOOD FIGHT, which gets delayed by technical issues, a trip to China, and, unconvincingly, domestic issues involving him lying about his supposed partial Japanese heritage, a dead ex, and several cases of infidelity. Despite Bauckman and Belleveau’s claims to the contrary, much of this reads as inauthentic, suggesting that Elliot and his girlfriend worked with the film team at least partially to stage some of what’s here – notably, very dubious captured-on-screen infidelity and over-the-top arguments – to make a semi-mockumentary played straight. At the very least, if the filmmakers weren’t a party to manufacturing the hard to believe elements, they instead may have been played by their subjects. Regardless, the film is never as funny or as provocative as it’s meant to be, though I’ll grant that it has clearly resonated with audiences much more than I’d have expected.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Releases

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