Kung Fu Hustle

2004

Action / Comedy / Crime / Fantasy / Thriller

185
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 90%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 89%
IMDb Rating 7.8 10 110195

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Stephen Chow as Sing
Kwok-Kwan Chan as Brother Sum
Qiu Yuen as Landlady
720p.BLU
599.58 MB
1280*720
English
R
23.976 fps
1hr 39 min
P/S 13 / 143

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by sharky_55 9 / 10

Kung Fu

Kung Fu Hustle is a comedic triumph, the high point of actor-director Stephen Chow's career over the decades. Before the international hit, he spent years refining his trade as the wacky, roughly-hewn rascal with just the right amount of gold in his heart. Chow plays the bad guy well enough; a bit of stubble, ragged sleeves rolled up, and just a hint of manic crazy in those eyes when he brandishes his little pocket knife that suggests he'll do anything to make it big in this uncaring world. His goal is to ascend to the top of the criminal underworld and join the ranks of the legendary Axe Gang - and Chow's opening scene is a testament to the sort of style and status that he admires. The word here is cool; the top hats, the black suits, the jazz backing, the sashay of Brother Sum as he approaches another victim. Think the goofy KKK clansmen in the Coen's O Brother Where Art Thou, only without the uncomfortable historical baggage. Chow blends touches of class (the slow pull out from within the police headquarters, the inhabitants frozen in fear), realistic grit (black and white newspaper headlines documenting their reign of terror in 1930s China) and pure chopsocky fun (the operatic ridiculousness in the slow motion axe taking off a leg) effortlessly.

But while the cities are under constant fear, the slums of Pig Sty Alley live so sloppily they are practically immune from all the outside whizbang. The setting is built up like an old style Hollywood set on the studio backlot, a towering structure with a life of its own, reminiscent of that in Irma la Douce or Rear Window. We find the beating heart of a community that becomes a character in itself - here money is immaterial, luxury is a foreign language, and its petty squabbles are only surface conflict. Chow riffs off traditional wuxia stories by plucking legendary heroes out of the ordinary village fabric, martial arts masters for one day and then back to their modest living. Even with the Buddhist-steeped redemption arc of his own character Sing, it's clear that Chow is attempting to undo some of the mythos surrounding these action figures. They fight out of sheer necessity to protect those who can't, but in the meantime they're tailors and cooks and labourers. The story is the proof that Sing needs to see; that good guys can come from any walk of life, whereas ambition without restraint can often lead one down darker paths.

Chow's always had a penchant for goofy, unrestricted action, with liberal use of wire-work that doubles as slapstick comedy (Flirting Scholar comes to mind). He would hit his creative peak with Kung Fu Hustle, in which a quaint village becomes the arena for an increasingly zany series of martial arts battles. The set design is there to be a battered and collapsible playground; walls crack with relish, and stone banisters go flying in bits so regularly it's surprising there are any stairs left by the end of the film. Chow enlisted the best to choreograph his fighting sequences, among them kung fu royalty in Yuen Woo-ping, who brings the same rapid, weightless intensity that the Wachowskis asked for in The Matrix. His sequences verge on the edge of realism, as if real life had merged with a cartoon. Elsewhere there's more of the same slapstick in the way that CGI and sound design lift the live action motion, with puffs of dust trails, legs whipping up into a blur, and Axe Gang cronies dropping like flies from up above and splattering onto the ground. Hear Sing rack up hits like an arcade game in the climatic melee, and the machine gun rattle of the toes broken by his fast feet. And listen to how the traditional Chinese instrumentation like Erhu and the Guzheng build to thrilling crescendos, and in one scene become the actual weapon in a stylised martial arts showdown.

It's not every movie that has slapstick and pathos all rolled into one, and leaves us satisfied by the end that the protagonist has come of age, and finally realised his place in the world. This is broad stuff, but Chow has always excelled at the scruffy everyman, the rascal, and although I mention he plays the bad guy well enough, he's not good enough for a pure villain. He doesn't have that snarl, or the complete mean streak. There has always been good in him. There's nothing in those cheap manuals worth a damn, but it's what inside that counts, and in the final scene where the camera swings around and takes us back into the past, we once again glimpse the little boy who believed he could save the world.

Reviewed by Tweekums 8 / 10

Kung Fu Hustle

This action comedy from Hong Kong is set in the thirties and gangs, particularly the Axe Gang dominate. Usually such gangs ignore the poor as they have nothing worth stealing and no money to extort. That changes when two wannabe gangsters, Sing and his friend Bone, start trying to intimidate the poor inhabitants of Pig Sty Alley while claiming to be members of the Axe Gang. It is immediately obvious that they have picked on the wrong neighbourhood and they are chased off. Soon the real Axe Gang turn up hoping repair damage to their reputation; they don't know there are many old martial arts masters living there and they too are beaten. After that they bring in assassins; including The Beast; reportedly the most dangerous man in the world! By now Sing is with the gang but will he remain with them or will he become the protector of the helpless he dreamt of being as a child?

If you like your kung fu action to feel at least a little bit realistic you might be disappointed but if you want a good laugh and really over-the-top action then this film is a delight. The action is a mix of standard, 'slightly exaggerated' martial arts, kung fu that is more like a superpower and a ridiculously sped up chase. The characters are a lot of fun; most notably the landlady and her husband, Sing and The Beast. The cast does a solid job; the situations may be comic and the characters over the top but they are played straighter than one might expect. Most of the comedy worked for me, although I must admit the speeded up chase was a little too silly for my taste. There are also quite a few references to other films such as 'The Shining' and 'The Matrix'. Overall I'd certainly recommend this to anybody who likes good slapstick comedy combined with exciting martial arts action.

Reviewed by Morten_5 7 / 10

Fun and charming

Creative, well-choreographed and funny, "Kung Fu Hustle" by Chinese/Cantonese director Stephen Chow was an international $100 million hit.

The pros: The pace and charm of the movie. The homage it makes to older martial arts flicks. The stylish and nice-looking scenes it's composed by.

The cons: It's not quite enough a story in itself to make me fully engaged. Rather, it's a collection of nice pictures and fighting scenes.

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