Directors: Matthew Bauckman and Jaret Belliveau
Cast: Elliot “White Lightning” Scott, Linda Lum, Blake Zwicker
Runtime: 88 minutes
Elliot himself says it best while filming a scene for his movie BLOOD FIGHT: “History has always been about great people.” No single phrase can encapsulate what Elliot thinks of himself more than this.
Reviewing KUNG FU ELLIOT is difficult, not because it’s overly complicated or a bad documentary, but to tell you too much greatly diminishes the enjoyment you’ll experience watching it yourself. What follows is my attempt to convince you to take the time to watch this gem of a documentary without revealing too much of what happens.
KUNG FU ELLIOT, on the surface, seems very niche in its intended audience. This is, at its core, a documentary about a z-level aspiring action star who wants to show the world that heroes still exist. Underneath is so much more. If there is one thing that KUNG FU ELLIOT does extremely well as a piece of entertainment, it’s that it never allows its viewers to rest on any given assumption of what is actually going on. In both of my viewings I found myself caught up in various emotions throughout the runtime. Matthew Bauckman and Jaret Belliveau, who both wrote and directed the film, carefully guide the audience through a wide range of emotions. Don’t get too comfortable laughing at the delusions of Elliot because before you know it you’ll be cheering him on and hoping he can pull it all together.
Elliot is a dreamer. KUNG FU ELLIOT follows him as he puts the finishing touches on his latest film, BLOOD FIGHT (THEY KILLED MY CAT was his first) over the course of two years. Along for the ride is his girlfriend Linda Lum and Blake Zwicker who plays the villain of BLOOD FIGHT. Elliot is the only credited star, but the life of Linda Lum is equally important to the story being told here. Arguably, Linda is the character that the audience can easily latch on to, as the narrative shifts are always closely reflected in Linda’s story progression.
Ultimately KUNG FU ELLIOT is about lying. Elliot lies to his audience, his friends, his girlfriend and himself. He’s so caught up in a world he paints for himself that can’t see past the façade he created. As Blake Zwicker says “It’s just a fantasy or a big dream, or a big lie.”
KUNG FU ELLIOT offers a lot of enjoyment from beginning to end. You don’t have to be a fan of low-budget filmmaking to enjoy what the documentary has to offer. Do yourselves a favour and give this a shot. If you’re anything like me, you won’t regret it at all.
KUNG FU ELLIOT releases today, February 20th, in select theaters in the US and on VOD.