Written by Pedrastro del Diablo
For about a year or two now I kept hearing about this low budget comedy called The Foot Fist Way starring an unknown but hilarious actor by the name of Danny McBride. Comedians like Patton Oswalt would talk about it and commentaries on films like Superbad and Hot Rod (both of which Danny McBride appeared in) would mention The Foot Fist Way. Once I saw McBride's performance in Hot Rod and heard about this small film he did, I was a bit annoyed I wouldn't be able to see it since it wasn't available to see anywhere (at least close), even on DVD. Thankfully Will Ferrell and Adam McKay stepped in and picked up the distribution rights so it could get a proper release. It also helped that McBride had roles in the successful summer films Tropic Thunder and Pineapple Express. There are a good number of people in the comedy world who love this movie and were hoping it'd be a surprise hit, but when the movie was released, it didn't seem to have that effect. But now that it's out on DVD, it might be able to find that larger audience.
The Foot Fist Way (which is the literal English translation of Tae Kwon Do) is about a Tae Kwon Do instructor by the name of Fred Simmons (Danny McBride) who proclaims himself the "king of the demo" (a demonstration of Tae Kwon Do). When Simmons finds out his wife (Mary Jane Bostic) has cheated on him, he begins to slip and become even more of an aggressive and insulting person than he originally was. After an encounter with his hero Chuck "The Truck" Wallace (played by co-writer Ben Best), he starts to turn things around, at least until he is betrayed once again by his wife and his hero Chuck "The Truck" Wallace. Simmons then has to find a way to rise above these unfortunate events and find the "strength" to pull it all together and to prove himself.
Based on what I had heard of this film and what I've seen McBride accomplish in recent films, I was expecting something completely laugh-out loud hilarious. No, this is not a laugh-out loud kind of movie and that's not a bad thing. It has a unique style of being very funny. I hate how people use the Napoleon Dynamite tag for whenever a new "indie" film comes along that shows some kind of subtle and or particular style of humor, so I refuse to compare it to that film. One thing I hate about the cover of this DVD is that they use a quote that mentions Napoleon Dynamite. Shut up! Retire it! But, it definitely has that feel of its own sense of humor that isn't completely spelled out or thrown in your face. Granted there are moments that are laugh-out loud funny, but the charm is in its style of having that particular and peculiar sense of humor.
McBride does a great job playing Simmons. He is a jerk, but you still find yourself hoping he pulls through. To a certain degree it evokes a reaction similar to when you see Ricky Gervais as David Brent on The Office (British version). You know they're a complete ass, but there's still enough humanity in them that you can't help but want some kind of pay-off for the character. The kids cast in this are used perfectly and the supporting cast is also great, especially Jody Hill (the director of this film) as Simmons' creepy and intense friend Mike. The characters are all believable even in their weird ways and weird situations, but that's just one of the ingredients that makes this film work.
The low budget and special tone of the film gives it this unique feel I didn't expect to have when watching it. It's that feeling you get from that movie you can share with friends when you have a few beers and need a good late night movie to throw on. It's similar to the feeling I got when I saw movies like Bottle Rocket or even Office Space. It just feels somewhat comfortable and something that feels special and your own. Part of it may stem from the fact I grew up and went to college in a similar environment and felt like the characters (their style, language, and their mannerisms) and even the neighborhoods and businesses were familiar. It's weird to say, but it's like that good friend you know is flawed but love to see because they're strangely comforting and you know you're going to get drunk and have a blast with them.
Extras include Commentary, Behind The Scenes (which actually feels like a strange music video with behind-the-scenes footage), Bloopers, Deleted and Extended Scenes, and an Alternate Ending. These features aren't too much to write home about, but there is a pretty funny deleted scene involving Julio and the punching dummy. The Alternate Ending is entertaining because you can definitely see why they cut it. It's pretty funny, but goes pretty out there even for their world.
The Foot Fist Way may not floor you or have you laughing out loud at every scene, but it does accomplish being an entertaining comedy that has its own voice, which is very refreshing these days. Grab some beers, invite some friends over, pop this DVD in and enjoy. I have a feeling The Foot Fist Way will finally find the audience it's been looking for and deserves.