Netflix UK film review: Kung Fu Elliot
Ivan Radford | On 02, Sep 2015
Director: Matthew Bauckman, Jaret Bellivea
Cast: Elliot Scott
Watch Kung Fu Elliot online in the UK: Netflix UK / Apple TV (iTunes) / Google Play
Have you heard of Elliot “White Lightning” Scott, Canada’s first action hero? No? As this curious documentary reveals, there may a reason for that.
Elliot longs to be the Bruce Lee of North America. The Chuck Norris of Canada. He makes films called They Killed My Cat with his low-budget video camera, movies he’s convinced will earn him a loyal following of fans. Kung Fu Elliot watches as he shoots his latest epic: Blood Fight.
The script is terrible. The effects are ropey. The money is non-existent. And the patience of his partner, Linda, is wearing thin. But what Elliot does have is enthusiasm by the bucket. That unswerving determination to do what he loves makes him a charming documentary subject.
Directors Matthew Bauckman and Jaret Bellivea are smart enough to let Elliot do his own thing while they hold the camera. And so we marvel as he convinces a friend to shove his head through a cardboard box and fakes a decapitation. We sit, open-mouthed, as he jumps through a window with fireworks taped to the frame. But that awe slowly turns sour as his antics go to increasing extremes. How does he justify shooting porn scenes with what seem to be prostitutes while Linda’s away? Or going on an expensive solo trip to China?
As he poses on the Great Wall with tourists passing by, telling them he’s a famous movie star, his delusions are as worrying as they are entertaining. You may question why the film-makers do not interfere rather than use him as a source of entertainment, but that balance between accepting reality and chasing dreams makes for a shocking, moving and gripping 90 minutes; an intriguing exploration of what it takes to think you can be the next Bruce Lee, and, more importantly, why he isn’t.
Kung Fu Elliot is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription.