Kung Fu Cyborg (Review)

Kung Fu Cyborg

aka Kei hei hup aka Kung Fu Cyborg: Metallic Attraction

Directed by Jeffery Lau

Jeffery Lau declared he wanted to do Chinese Transformers, and have his robots be “the incarnation of Oriental wisdom and strength.” Okay. Lau is no stranger to science fiction, as anyone who has seen A Chinese Tall Story can testify. Kung Fu Cyborg was originally titled Robot, then the title was turned into the easier to remember Metallic Attraction: Kung Fu Cyborg. Except for when it was called Kung Fu Cyborg: Metallic Attraction! Or just Kung Fu Cyborg. D’Oh! So we’ll just call it Kung Fu Cyborg when we refer to it, even if we slip up later. Just ignore the slip ups. They are not the droids you are looking for.

But in any event, here are a bunch of cool posters for Kung Fu Cyborg.

This is a long movie, approaching Korean standard of length. One could easily trim 30 minutes and it would do nothing but help the film along. The length is because it seems like two movies smooshed together, an origin story and a second story. Unfortunately, that means things will be dragging. And dragging. And lots of side plots happen. And it takes forever for the freaking robots to do their robot thing. Which is sort of why I watched the movie in the first place. Before this introduction gets as long as the pre-robot fight scenes in Kung Fu Cyborg, let’s just get to the Roll Call!

Xu Dachun (Hu Jun) – Xu Dachun is a tough cop who wants to get out of his small town and be a famous big town cop. Instead, he has to babysit a robot who moves in on the girl he loves. Then he dies and gets robotted himself. Tough break.
K-1 (Alex Fong Lik-Sun) – K-1 is just your average robot cyborg disguised as a normal human sent undercover to work as a police officer while secretly using his powers in very obvious ways that should blow his cover 5 times a day. But they never do because everyone in the film is crazy. Good for the film. Alex Fong Lik-Sun was on the 2000 Olympics swimming team and is a singer. Don’t confuse him with Alex Fong Chung-Sun, who I now realize I have seen almost 2 dozen of his films.
Zhou Sumei (Betty Sun Li) – A police officer in the small town who takes a shine to K-1. But Dachun likes her already, thus leading to a love triangle. Further love triangle problems are because K-1 is not allowed to love. Basically, lots of love problems, none of which is resolved by giant robot fights. I didn’t realize I knew who Betty Sun Li was until I remembered she was in a music video with Rain that my wife has watched 1000 times on Youtube. She rescues animals and wrote a book called Take Me Home: The Stories of I and Stray Animals.
K-88 (Wu Jing) – aka Chen Long, a rogue robot who will give the few lines of philosophical mumbo-jumbo the film tries to pass off as in depth commentary on man’s place in the universe. And he fights, thus we get action!
Xiao Jiang (Ronald Cheng Chung-Kei) – A local teacher and computer expert who has a crush on Sumei. Ronald Cheng is pretty famous considering his smaller role.
Zhou Suqing (Gan Wei) – Sumei’s sister who was off in college and thus not in part of the film. Spends most of the film with her hair covering her face. This is Gan Wei’s first acting role, but she did marketing work on films like CJ7, Warlords, and Red Cliff 2. Gan Wei also rescues animals like Betty Sun Li.
Lin Xiang (Eric Tsang Chi-Wai) – Eric Tsang spends most of his scenes looking like he is a millisecond from crying, which is an odd acting choice. Okay. Lin Xiang is the dude who invents all the robots for the government and in charged with making sure they don’t go all Skynet on the general population.

Kung Fu Cyborg at times attempts to get all philosophical, such as when it opens with the quote “If God created humans, and humans created robots, should we not question our maker the way humans question theirs?” – K88. But the level of philosophy actually achieved would make a freshman who just took a Philosophy 101 course angry with rage. Somewhere, there is a good movie about robots and humanity and religion, but it is not Kung Fu Cyborg.

The opening credits have an I, Robotish assembly line. It is the year 2046, because everything in the future in China takes place in 2046. See the movie 2046 for more details.

Xu Dachun is a cop escorting a prisoner who goes all License To Kill on him and offers a billion dollars to whoever wants to free him. All the other cops decide to take him up on the offer, so Dachun now has to fight off the otehr cops and recapture the prisoner. He manages to do so, but it turns out it was all a test. Or TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes. Cue the Sergio Aragones comics!

Eric Tsang takes Dachun on a canoe ride in a holodeck (called Unstable Fuzzy Video Virus), then reveals he has been recruited for an important mission: to partner with the first robot cop and keep him undercover and out of trouble!

He is…Data! Or not. Some dude named K-1. Not even K9! Or K-Y! Or Special K! Or KKK-1! K-1 is the same dude that was the fake criminal in the test earlier. He’s dressed as a 1950’s greaser, which is the style of robots in 2046. Where is Ponyboy? So that means they have to wait for a bus. Somehow they got to the bus stop in the middle of nowhere without speaking to each other until there are there. And they go Gandalf and have a smoke ring competition ends with Dachun at the hospital after shooting smoke out of his eyes. Dachun will spend the next few scenes in sunglasses to hide his damaged eyes.

Dachun and K-1 arrive at the local police station, which has a collection of local cops with minor roles and a female cop named Zhou Sumei. But she has glasses, thus she is not attractive except to a few local losers such as Jiang, a teacher and computer repair guy who makes any excuse to try to drop by the police station to impress her. But Jiang fails to fix the malfunctioning computer, which is solved by K1 the second he arrives. Dachun is upset that Sumei seems interested in K-1, warns her not to get attached, but you know how that will go. Sumei also has a sister named Suqing who will show up later in the film

Dachun is Sumei’s neighbor, and also father asked him to look after her (and thus he’s also crushed on her.) K-1 has a battery recharging chair, because, why not? The cops send K-1 off to solve unsolved small town cases (like missing teeth,) but he solves them all in ten seconds.

After a night of drinking, K-1 cures Sumei of her glasses, while Dachun and Jiang conspire to try to take out K-1 with a virus, Love Potion 369. But Sumei’s sister Suqing comes home just then and accidentally sends the virus to all the machines in the house, causing teapots and remote controlled cars and chairs and the like to go haywire. But K-1 and Sumei arrive home and he solves the virus problem. In revenge, Dachun cuts off power to K-1’s room so he can’t recharge, and he doesn’t even notice.

Sangbiao is in town! who the hell is Sangbiao? Oh, a random criminal. Dachun and k-1 will go after the guy while everyone else does backup. K-1’s battery starts to run down, so his rocket powered stunts and Matrix bullet dodging (sigh…) are not enough to take in Sangbiao. K-1 and Dachun argue and K-1 tries to shoot motion suppressants at Sangbiao, hitting Dachun first (causing Dachun to turn blue move in slow motion) Eventually Sangbiao is hit as well and we have a slow motion fight that doesn’t need the Matrix as an excuse. Stupid Matrix still ruining films ten years later with bullet-time garbage!

So the baddie is beaten up and caught, and days later K-1 is still hiding away with bandages over his face where he was damaged. Dachun and Sumei get into a fight, which results in Dachun punching Suqmi repeatedly while trying to hit Sumei. This is all played for laughs, but is terminally unfunny because it is domestic violence and assault on women. Way to go, Hong Kong!

After Mr. Lin fixes K-1’s face, he recruits Dachun and K-1 to help capture K-88, another robot who has gone rogue. He gives Dachun an iPod weapon. K-88 looking for Angel Cake uranium to make himself super-powered, so Dachun goes undercover as seller of Angel Cake. K-88 tries to kill Dachun, but K-1 approaches and K-88 eats an rpg shot at him by Dachun.

K-88 fights K-1, then K-1 transforms into a bicycle and has Dachun pedal away. That works until K-88 turns into an SUV to pursue, so K-1 turns into rocket-powered motorcycle. The chase continues with giant SUV guns, and then finally the two robots turn into Beast Machines robots to fight! To HK-pop music!

Only 52 minutes in for robot action!

The robots go flying through the air with bullet time (sigh…) fighting. If you see one movie this year where Chinese robots fight sword vs. Nunchucks while flying hundreds of feet in the air, make it this film! Also there are hundreds of huge rocks floating in the air for some reason used for weapons, and K-1 gets frakked up by Fire Blade! (as does a construction vehicle that is also flying around in the air for some reason)

Dachun gets the iPod weapon to turn into a gun arm on Dachun, but it won’t fire. The robots fight again on the ground and K-1 gets beat up more and his battery ripped out. K-88 yells at him for following orders and not dreaming of freedom, but Dachun returns and puts the battery back in K-1, getting a sword through the chest for his trouble. His death makes him mad enough that the iPod Gun Arm actually works and blows K-88 into a million pieces. Before he dies, Dachun orders K-1 to not touch Sumei, and K-1 declares that Dachun can’t die.

And thus…

Dachun is rebuilt into a cyborg using the parts left of K-88! Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster. And he starts acting a bit weird. Suqing helps Jiang in his attempts to woo Sumei by giving advice, but the next day Jiang is now chasing after Suqing and gets her. But he also gets freaked out as Dachun is transforming his head into random objects from around the house.

K-1 can’t respond to Sumei’s cryptic questions about love because if he does he will malfunction, but he later tries to make up for it via IM messaging. Mr. Lin then arrives with two mysterious twins in Unabomber getup to talk to Dachun about suspicious behavior in K-1. K-1 grabs Dachun and runs, the two twins in hot pursuit. In an shipyard, the twins use magnetic powers to grab K-1 and try to delete his memory, but he protects it. When Dachun is attacked by the twins for defending K-1, he turns into K-88. K-88 fights off the twins, then turns back to Dachun.

The two good robots run into hull of giant cargo ship under construction, but the robot twins block off the ends of the ship. The twins use magnetics to gather a bunch of metal and construction vehicles. They turn the junk into a giant hopping vampire! Take that, Devastator! And no metal balls! He is Mr. Walking Dead.

K-88 returns and flies around the robot fighting it, but pieces knocked off just reattach. K-1 tries to send the “I think I’m in the mood for love” virus to K-88, but sends Hong Kong Gangster Number 9.exe instead. Now K-88 acts like a Triad gangboss and spawns a bunch of Triad gangsters. Wave after wave after wave.

Mr. Walking Dead shoots out spiders that turn into coffins that entrap the triads, so K-88 spawns more and more, armed with power tools or chicks with knives. K-88 starts to overhead, while all the triads are now just an amazingly huge pile of coffins. But they start breaking out of the coffins and soon Mr. Walking Dead has ropes slung around him and is brought down. The Triads chop up the robot and the two pilots.

But K-88 has fallen as well. He says goodbye to K-1, and tells K-1 it doesn’t matter if you are human or robot as long as you do what makes you happy, then dies and Dachun comes back.

Sumei, Suqing, and Jiang arrive to find out what is going on, and K-1 and Dachun finally reveal they are cyborgs. Outside, a loud noise is revealed to be Mr. Lin with lots of other robots and a giant turtle tank robot think with a bajillion missiles and cannons on it.

Remember when they said they were trying to keep all of this hush-hush? How does a giant trillion dollar turtle robot tank fall under hush-hush?

K-1 confronts them, but when the turtle reveals its bajillion missiles there is no way he can win. Dachun is tired of fighting. So K-1 reveals to Sumei he loves her, and then he disintegrates because his programming dictates he must, and she cries.

The End

That’s seriously how it ends.

And an epilogue says that Dachun turns over his body to the cyborg company so he also dies and there is no real movement in robot rights.

What a damn horrible ending. Suck it, Metallic Attraction – Kung Fu Cyborg!

Rated 5/10 (iKick!, Only you…, chargin’, guard dog, chick with a knife!)

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