For the first 30 minutes of “Kung Fu Elliot”, I was convinced the film had to be fictional. There is no possible way Elliot Scott, a goofy Canadian ‘Kickboxing Champion’ bent on action-movie stardom, could be real…right? This lanky man, with no discernible fighting talent, posing to become the next Chuck Norris just screams mockumentary…right?
Only it is not. “Kung Fu Elliot” is a documentary and Elliot Scott is purportedly very real, and therefore the perfect encapsulation of how far off the reservation we as a society have gone. Elliot is such a complicated creature that by the end of the film, we are still unsure if we should root for or against him. That is also what makes the film such a compelling endeavor.
Elliot is both everything we as a society say we want in the human spirit, as well as everything we loathe. Here is a man who dreams big and has the quiet determination to achieve those goals. He is also the most delusional character on film in eons. His acting is horrific, his direction pedestrian, and his fighting skills are perfunctory at best. Elliot is not the next Jean-Claude Van Damme. He is the next failed actor you and your buddies will mock incessantly IF his film ever hits late-night cable.
Along for this journey of delusion is Linda, Elliot’s partner and sole financial support, and the rest of the assorted cast and crew from his planned film, Blood Fight. While the other cast have their moments, Linda is the true co-star here. She loves Elliot and has devoted both her time and resources to his endeavor to become Canada’s first martial-arts star. Her path is the more interesting one as she has obvious doubts about Elliot’s potential, yet continually supports his every whim on pure blind faith. Even as Elliot continues to delay wedding plans, engages in adventures in China, and produces films that very few are buying – Linda supports him. If anyone is the ‘hero’ in “Kung Fu Elliot”, my vote immediately falls to Linda.
Directors Matthew Baukman and Jaret Belliveau selected quite the individual for their documentary, and you can only see the breadth of the ‘why’ as the film progresses. Elliot is an example of the lies we all tell ourselves in today’s society. ‘Anyone can be whatever they want, as long as they believe and work hard enough.’ That is what we have been told since we were children, yet how true is this statement? Baukman and Belliveau let Elliot’s story unfold naturally, and the answer to this question for this particular group of passionate yet deluded individuals is fairly complete by the film’s conclusion.
How will you feel about “Kung Fu Elliot”? If you are like me, your opinion of Elliot will waiver all the way up until the stark and dramatic conclusion. What begins as a polite mocking of a man ill-suited for the dreams he aspires to, devolves into a truly compelling and insightful descent into our own delusional aspirations. By the end of the film, I was almost instantly hit with the realization of my own personal missteps in my pursuit of what I believed were attainable dreams. I suspect you will too.
How could this ridiculous yet driven man ever become the international superstar he prides himself as being? Shouldn’t we all have this same grand determination? Directors Baukman and Belliveau wanted to shine a light on a goofy man with an absurd dream. What they leaves us with is an intelligent dissection of the human condition. Roundhouse kick “Kung Fu Elliot” to the top of your must-see list.
Kung Fu Elliot release dates:
In Theaters: 2/20
On VOD: 2/24
Starring Elliot Scott
Written by Matthew Bauckman, Jaret Belliveau
Directed by Matthew Bauckman, Jaret Belliveau
The Hollywood Outsider