Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

So many gangsters...so little time.

Set in Canton, China in the 1940s, the story revolves in a town ruled by the Axe Gang, Sing who desperately wants to become a member. He stumbles into a slum ruled by eccentric landlords who turns out to be the greatest kung-fu masters in disguise. Sing's actions eventually cause the Axe Gang and the slumlords to engage in an explosive kung-fu battle. Only one side will win and only one hero will emerge as the greatest kung-fu master of all.

Quite an experience, and in a great way as well!
Went into this one totally blind as to its contents, truth is, is that I was mooching round the shops yesterday and came across an Asian triple pack DVD at a bargain price, since one of the films was Jet Li starrer Unleashed, i thought it was worth the cheap price on offer. Got home and the write up on the back of the case didn't give much away as regards plot for Kung Fu Hustle, an Axe Gang, some guy named Sing wants to be in the gang, and that some creaky old residents in a place called Pig Sty Ally are tougher than they look.
What I got was what I can only describe as a live cartoon full of class and style, the sort of flip side to the more arty Asian films that have (rightly) become massively popular in the subsequent decadse. Written, directed, produced and starring Stephen Chow (Sing), Kung Fu Hustle is a remarkably breathless piece of work, the plot is threadbare for sure, but it really matters not, because Chow has fused the grand old genre staple punch up with balletic comedy, it's quite something to behold. It's as loud as a face off between Motorhead & Iron Maiden, yet it's just so flipping tender at the same time! Incredible sequences will dazzle you one moment and then have you laughing the next, I'm quite annoyed that I didn't catch on to this film back in 2004, but even now some years later this film is still a breath of fresh air on the home format release. See it and roll with it, enjoy. 9/10

Star Overseas, China Film Co-Production Corporation by Stephen Chow, Kan-Cheung Tsang, Xin Huo, Man Keung Chan.
Stars: Stephen Chow, Wah Yuen, Qiu Yuen, Siu-Lung Leung.

Genres: Action, Comedy, Fantasy

Keywords: martial arts kung fu magic gangster mafia defense policeman 1940s anarchic comedy canton

12/23/2004

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