Review: Kung Fu Hustle (2004) R 95min
November 23rd, 2008 by Maxim · No Comments · 14,820 Views
Kung Fu Hustle by director Stephen Chow, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Xin Huo, is an imaginative action comedy that won over 20 international awards.
The plot: In 1940s Shanghai, China before the Revolution, the city is terrorised by ruthless gangs. A petty thief, Sing (Stephen Chow) and his sidekick (Chi Chung Lam) aspire to become members of one of the most powerful and sophisticated gangs known as Axe Chain Gang. Only the poorest neighborhoods that present no interest to gangsters can live a peaceful life. But once the Axe gang stumbled on one an apartment complex on Pig Sty Alley and tried to extort money from residents, the peace is no more as residents of the Pig Sty Inn show extraordinary Kung Fu skills when they defend their turf. And poor silly Sing, in his comical attempts to be ruthless gangster, finds out what it takes to be a true kung fu master.
The good: Very funny comedy. Fantastic (literally) kung fu scenes wonderfully choreographed by Yeun Wo Ping (who also choreographed fight scenes in Kill Bill Vol 1 & 2 and The Matrix). It’s great on so many levels. First of all, it reiterates on all Hong Kong kung fu movie styles from 60s and 70s to modern special effects in fight scenes used in movies like The Matrix. Great costumes and sets. The slapstick jokes were really nice. Especially in the beginning of the movie, the spirit of the 30s and 40s is in every shot. Indeed, a very visually pleasing and grasping film. Special effects were great to, as if brilliant kung fu itself wasn’t enough. Great little details, like fireworks being used to summon the gangsters (same as in Gangs of New York) or the victory dance of the Axe Gang members. Just great fun. I’ve seen this movie 4 times.
Kung Fu Hustle 2 is coming in 2010.
The bad: some slapstick jokes were overdone and repeated. The plot is rather scattered. The last fight with Buddha palm seemed overdone and out of place. A bit too much computer graphics toward the end, however it follows the progression of other action/kung fu movies over the years – compare Bruce Lee movies to The Matrix or Kill Bill.
The summary: if you haven’t seen it in theatres, get it on DVD or Blu-Ray. Kung Fu Hustle is such a great fun - no other movie about kung fu is as funny and entertaining. Stephen Chow has done an excellent job.
The cast: Sing – Stephen Chow | Bone (Sing’s Sidekick) – Chi Chung Lam | Crocodile Gang Boss – Xiaogang Feng | Landlord – Wah Yuen | Landlady – Qiu Yuen | Donut – Zhi Hua Dong | Axe Gang Advisor – Kai Man Tin | Fong - Shengyi Huang | Axe Gang Vice General – Suet Lam | Beggar – Cheung-Yan Yuen | Tailor – Chi Ling Chiu | Rabbit-Tooth Jane – Kai Shi Chen
The crew: Director – Stephen Chow | Writers – Stephen Chow, Xin Huo, Chan Man Keung, Kan-Cheung Tsang | Producers – Bill Borden, Wellson Chin, Stephen Chow, Po Chu Chui, Rita Fung, David Hung, Jeffrey Lau, Zhonglei Wang, Connie Wong, Hai Cheng Zhao | Original music – Stephen Chow, Raymond Wong, Hang Yi, Xian Luo Zong | Cinematography – Hang-Sang Poon | Sony Pictures
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