Directed by Jody Hill
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 anamorphic
Running Time: 82 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Spanish
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
MSRP: $ 19.99
Release Date: September 23, 2008
Review Date: September 23, 2008
There is undoubtedly a funny film to be made around the rituals of Tae Kwon Do, but Jody Hill’s The Foot Fist Way isn’t it. Inane, directionless, and uninspired, The Foot Fist Way is an almost complete waste of time. Ecstatic blurbs on the DVD cover might lead one to believe he’s stumbled onto a real comedy sleeper, but don’t be fooled. The Foot Fist Way is just about as bad as a movie can get.
Fred Simmons (Danny McBride) is a black belt instructor in Tae Kwon Do in his owned and operated martial arts school in a small town strip mall. Crass, dull-witted, but with a strong belief in his own abilities and attributes, Fred and his business seem to be doing well, but his marriage to similarly dull-witted blonde nymphet Suzie (Mary Jane Bostic) has hit a rocky patch. She’s been giving hand jobs to her dentist boss and making Xerox copies of her boobs and butt for all to see. Unable to handle such infidelity, Fred, best friend Mike McAlister (Jody Hill), and a couple of students go on a road trip to meet their Tae Kwon Do B-movie idol Chuck "The Truck" Wallace (Ben Best). Chuck’s best days are behind him as he now earns money making personal appearances at $10,000 a pop to schools like Fred’s who worship his former achievements. Can Fred lure the once famous star to his school to gain back some of his lost esteem?
It’s clear from the opening moments of the film that the script by director Jody Hill and co-stars Danny McBride and Ben Best is likely a mere outline of scenes with completely improvised dialog and situations. The scenes have no structure apart from some flimsy arrangement of sequences built around the five tenants of Tae Kwon Do: courtesy, self-control, perseverance, integrity, and indomitable spirit. But the scenes within each of those headings don’t always match the ideology. What’s worse, the comedy has no flow, jokes don’t build at all, and the dialog, laced with every profane epithet known to man, is clunky and completely unfunny. One senses always the desperate struggle of the actors to come up with anything remotely amusing in the scenes they‘re trapped in, but the laughs just aren’t there either with visual, physical comedy or with what’s spoken. It’s all a hopeless muddle of sequences without a center and ambling with no certain destination all due to the lethargic direction of Jody Hill. Though a martial arts montage near the end is filmed competently, many other montages (attacking a punching dummy in a rage of emotion, scenes in the school that seem tossed in willy-nilly, a fight between Fred and Chuck) couldn’t be less competently managed.
And the flatness of the dialog also sinks most of the performances. Though Danny McBride can be funny, he isn’t here at all. Mary Jane Bostic’s slutty, clueless Suzie is a cipher, and while Ben Best’s Chuck Wallace is the best performance in the movie, here that’s not much of a compliment. Two students, Spencer Moreno as Julio and especially Carlos Lopez IV as Henry, make positive impressions as good sports who have to bear the brunt of the film’s exacting ineptitude.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 aspect ratio has a grainy, home movie feel about it likely due to the film‘s low budget. Color is often plugged up, and sharpness is only average or worse. There is no dirt present on the image, but overall, it’s a rather ugly video image. The film has been divided into 16 chapters.
The film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix has a decent front soundstage with the soundtrack music by Pyramid mainly pumped into the rears. There is very little use of LFE even though some of the martial arts moves might have benefited from some lower end sounds.
The audio commentary by director Jody Hill, star Danny McBride, and production designer Randy Gambill finds the three men proud of their accomplishment. It’s a forgettable chat among friends, but they do make mention of some problems in filming on location in North Carolina along the way.
There is a 25-minute behind the scenes feature shot as a home movie with no audio apart from music on the soundtrack. It’s in 4:3.
There are two bloopers involving actors breaking up during takes, both in nonanamorphic widescreen running 2 minutes.
There are 20 deleted/extended scenes which can be viewed separately or in one 30 ¾-minute chunk.
An alternate ending runs 1 minute, less viewer friendly but likely a more appropriate end to the story of Fred and Suzie.
The disc contains previews of Defiance, The Love Guru, and American Teen.
An inept film that makes The Love Guru seem as accomplished as Some Like It Hot, The Foot Fist Way is not my idea of worthy entertainment. Obviously it has found favor with some critics for major periodicals and may appeal to fans of the star, but I found its stabs at humor pathetic and unrewarding.
According to the press release, the DVD will be sold exclusively at Best Buy though it will be available at all nationwide rental outlets. (It will be available everywhere for sale or rent in Canada.)