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Kung Fu Hustle (Kung Fu) (Gong Fu) February 7, 2007

Posted by Sai in Cantonese, English, Mandarin, Movies, Reviews.

Ever laughed till your stomach hurt? That was exactly what happened to me when I saw this satirical take on the martial arts genre that was co-written (with Xin Huo, Chan Man Keung and Kan-Cheung Tsang) and directed by Stephen Chow (Shaolin Soccer), who also stars in it (apart from co-producing and scoring part of the music).

The film tells you the story of Sing, who wants to be a gangster and a member of the dreaded Axe Gang. In one attempt to gain some credibility as a gangster, he pretends to be a member of the Axe Gang and tries to intimidate members of a colony called Pig Sty Alley (a poor colony that has been neglected by the gang). Unfortunately for him real members of the Axe Gang show up and in the melee that follows, they realise that the members of the colony have a past and they aren’t going to back away from a fight.

With this basic premise, Chow manages to dream up extremely imaginative and outrageously funny sequences that will have you laughing your guts out. He manages to spoof/reference a whole bunch of stuff including Hollywood movies like The Matrix and Spiderman and even the Road Runner cartoon. Though I probably didn’t get a large number of the references in this film, that still didn’t hamper the laughter. Though Chow parodies the genre, the audience can feel his reverence for the genre. In that sense, the film reminds you of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill, which was also born out of his love for the same genre and has a ton of references.

This cartoonish fest features a mélange of kooky characters, each specializing in a preposterous martial arts technique. The funniest character is undoubtedly that of the landlady, played by Qiu Yuen, who stands out in the cast filled with martial arts veterans. The supporting cast does a good job of maintaining the exaggerated comic tone of the film. Yuen Woo-ping’s (The Matrix, Kill Bill) action choreography is another asset.

Despite all this, the movie might still work as a straight action comedy film for those who are used to campy, over the top fare. Others wouldn’t want to miss this exceedingly funny flick.


1. Wing Chun Las Vegas Kung Fu Student - May 24, 2007

I agree. Laughed my a** off. This one was funny, funny as opposed to funny, stupid like so many of the other imports. Perhaps they will make a sequel.

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