It was a parody of action movies. "Darker" doesn't really fit with parody.
I'm not so sure, but you have me thinking about it now way more than I should. XD
I'm going to be up all night now pondering this. :P
Have you, like, noticed that the very self-praising supposed hero spends 85% of the movie not understanding one bit about what's going on around him, caring about his truck only, knocking himself out of the fights that his 'sidekick' wins for him, and the remaining 15% running around with lipstick on his face ?
Because it could be a hint.
I was never really sure what it is supposed to be. It was not funny enough to be a parody, at least not a good one, too silly to be anything else. Maybe I would "get it" if I was into martial arts films, which I avoid like the plague.
It's all that. It's some sort of "cool" cheesy orientalist adventure, with the "what if" the hero was a completely out of place, clueless, oblivious, self-loving, failed american action hero. Makes a very in-between (and likeable) movie, both deliberately and accidentally cheesy. With an amusingly subverted hero, who's still the good guy, but amusingly out of his depth and never frankly aknowledging it. All the typical action movie stuff seems to happen in his background...
Also Lo-Pan rulez.