The fact that Jamaicans are posting up hilarious little tributes to kung fu film online should come as no surprise. As in most countries, Jamaica always had its share of young men enthralled by martial arts cinema, which crested in terms of both prolificacy and popularity during the mid-’60s, soon after the rugged island nation became independent. Reggae producers like Lee Perry, Keith Hudson, Augustus Pablo, and Prince Jammy folded martial arts influence into their music, sometimes in the lyrics, and in other instances by simply titling their dubs “Exit The Dragon” or “Shaolin Temple.”
The global digi-video age now opens up possibilities for Jamaica to explode the kung-fu spoof genre. Below you’ll find the possible first bamboo shoots, starting with Prezzi909’s footage from November of some brilliantly awkward kung-fu kombat street theatre, replete with the sound of cackling and screaming onlookers. But wait til a pro gets a hold of the concept…
Put videographer Simon “Sno” Thompson (a.k.a. Yosef Imagination) on the job and you get Konfu Dread, man of mystery and smoking chalice…
But wait! Turns out Jamaicans have been on this for a longer while than we think. Check out Portland parish-based K-Web’s 1999 piece Shawlin Kung Fu, which brings an act-out of the audio dub of some martial arts film to a gothic Catibbean beach setting—in sepia tone!