Stephen Chow, the man behind Shaolin Soccer and The King of Comedy, is at it again and this time he has no limits. Kung Fu Hustle is a knock out, drag it out kung fu flick with all the extra trimmings. Some might argue this the prolific actor/director/stunt man's masterpiece.
Kung Fu Hustle takes the genre to its extreme by bringing all the normal conceits of this sort of film to their illogical conclusions. What results is not so much spoof or even homage. Instead, Kung Fu Hustle turns into the culmination of the martial arts film genre. Much like what Sean of the Dead did for zombies, Kung Fu Hustle does for kung fu. It exposes all of the faults of these films and turns them into strengths by enjoying them for what they are. It's the kung fu film to end all kung fu films. Chow has made a film it will be hard to top in terms of pure movie fun.
This is cartoon mixed with old fashioned MGM musical mixed with wuxia mixed with film noir mixed with screwball comedy. Chow knows his films and Hustle is his salute to so many. Kung Fu Hustle is the kind of movie film lovers can truly appreciate.
There is very little plot and what exists revolves around a gang war and the slum tenants that are caught in the middle. Soon everyone is caught up in the fray and the fun of the film begins. From here on out it is one battle after the next, each more outlandish and invigorating as the last. This is the kind of film that is absolute pure fun. It never relies on cheap jokes or gimmicks and instead finds real humour in the choreography.
The marketing for the film has focused on a series of posters each highlighting one of the colourful characters that populate the world of Kung Fu Hustle. This is smart as one of the film's great strengths is the vitality of its characters. Chow's character, while remaining the center of the film, doesn't dominate and the role itself is fairly self-depreciating. This allows for him to give a great comic performance amongst the madness.
For fans of these films, Kung Fu Hustle will be a welcome treat while those who are new to the genre should find this a great introduction to a long standing and rich set of films.
DVD Comments: Has Stephen Chow done it again? The actor/director/fighter has released a new flick. See what our reviewers think by clicking the links below.