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Overall Rating
4.51

Awesome60.23%
Worth A Look: 34.09%
Just Average: 2.84%
Pretty Crappy: 2.27%
Sucks: 0.57%

14 reviews, 92 user ratings


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Kung Fu Hustle
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by dionwr

"The Shaw Brothers meet Tex Avery"
4 stars

Stephen Chow is one of those happy cases of a filmmaker who has become successful enough to do anything he wants and is using that freedom to improve dramatically from film to film. "Shaolin Soccer" was faster and funnier than his earlier "The God of Cookery," and "Kung Fu Hustle" is his best work yet.

This is a distinctly odd duck, a parody kung fu film. Since kung fu films are already pretty far removed from reality, making a parody of one risks going too far. Chow makes a virtue of it, cheerfully leaving reality completely behind. There's a chase scene where the characters start pumping their legs in place for a moment before rocketing off like Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. There's a fight scene where the bad guy punches the head of the good guy into a hole in the ground.

The story starts by introducing the bad guys, the Axe Gang. The Axe Gang are ruthless bullies, so naturally they're introduced with a musical number. Not by coincidence, the Axe Gang bears a striking similarity to the bad guys (and comic relief) from Jackie Chan's "Project A" movies. The Axe Gang, we're told, rule Hong Kong--except in one place, Pig Sty Alley.

Pig Sty Alley is a decrepit slum ruled by the overbearing Landlady (Yuen Qiu), always seen with her hair in curlers and a cigarette in her mouth. Into Pig Sty Alley wander two conmen, (Stephen Chow and Dong Zhi Hua) pretending to be members of the Axe Gang and attempting to extort money from the residents. Things don't work out, and they spark a war between the residents of Pig Sty Alley and the Axe Gang, with hidden masters popping up everywhere as the fighting escalates. The plot, of course, is just an excuse to build up to bigger and more impresive kung fu scenes, featuring ever-more-legendary martial arts masters and techniques.

And Stephen Chow knows his Kung Fu films. One brief sequence in one of the fight scenes is a move-for-move and shot-for-shot remake of a fight sceen from Bruce Lee's "Fists of Death," where Lee advances down a hallway dispatching the thirty guys who are in his way. Of course, Bruce Lee didn't include the next shot, where you see the trail of bodies laid out behind him.

Chow is learning to tell his jokes visually. His earlier films are renowned for their verbal wit and wordplay, which unfortunately means they haven't always travelled well outside of China. "Shaolin Soccer" had a particularly troubled history--Miramax bought it and sat on it for several years because they couldn't get a translation of it which satisfied everyone. "Kung Fu Hustle" not only doesn't suffer from that, but includes several verbal riffs that are aimed squarely at the American market, as when one master very seriously tells another that with great power comes great responsibility.

Even more remarkable, the film manages to blend being this raucus and funny with a sweet undertone that takes its characters seriously. By the end of the film, you care about them, even ones as stereotypical and caricatured as Landlady.

This is the best fun I've had at the movies in months.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10619&reviewer=301
originally posted: 04/10/05 01:09:52
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. For more in the 2005 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/01/13 Atari TwentySixHundred Flaxman, totally missed the mark. This film is beautiful, fun, and exciting! 5 stars
1/04/10 stephan chow fan forever ok.. if you want to get the full effects of the movie, then learn chinese (puns and stuff) 5 stars
12/22/09 Cody This movie is one of the best I've ever seen and I am waiting for the 2010 sequel 5 stars
8/01/09 VISHNU SHARMA I LOVE SUCH MOVIE 5 stars
8/29/08 Shaun Wallner The Action was Amazing! 5 stars
3/12/08 ako excellent film by Chow with indepth understanding of the 3 level of Kung Fu. 5 stars
6/05/07 tracey chambers great movie. funny as hell. 5 stars
5/06/07 fools♫gold Die?! In this racket? 5 stars
4/17/07 David Pollastrini pretty silly! 2 stars
2/06/07 AJ Muller Drops laughs and ass-whuppins our way in old school WB style. Awesome. 4 stars
1/08/07 Drew Galletti As a kung-fu nerd, a well done, humorous homage to the genre 5 stars
12/07/06 UGB Definately worth a look - I thought it pretty funny 4 stars
7/05/06 drydock54321 just like a live action cartoon. Love that lion roar. 5 stars
5/05/06 Jason Terrible, unfunny movie. I'd rather watch a Tony Jaa movie 1 stars
3/30/06 Steb A kung fu comedy! What more could you ask for? 5 stars
2/11/06 brewt hustle me good 4 stars
12/31/05 metalhead Kung Fu Hustle is Freakin Sweet! One of the greatest movies ever made. 5 stars
11/15/05 Adrian Unique in every aspect...and thats what makes it so damn good and fun to watch. 5 stars
10/14/05 eddiejohns Funny and action-packed. I liked this combo. 4 stars
10/13/05 Indrid Cold A cross between "Crouching Tiger" and "Kung Pao"; dumb but entertaining. 4 stars
9/23/05 Mark Radburn A Kick-Ass Asian movie, A must-see 5 stars
9/21/05 Fritz Kind of amusing, but not as funny as it thinks it is. 3 stars
9/16/05 millersxing riki tiki tembo no sa rembo chari bari ruchi pip peri pembo 5 stars
9/11/05 Rever_Bear-Trap This RATING says it all! 5 stars
9/11/05 Alex Robert Rodriguez died 5 stars
9/08/05 Phil M. Aficionado The more I think about it, the better I like it; stunningly chaotic and funny and lively 5 stars
9/01/05 Zack it pretty sweet 3 stars
9/01/05 JFK great asian comedy. 4 stars
8/29/05 Quigley doesn't deliver what it promises. the CG wasn't great and neither were the fight scenes. 3 stars
8/27/05 Tom Burns This movie was amazing. 5 stars
8/24/05 Kat Scrumtrilacent with a hint of stellar. 5 stars
8/23/05 Nick Great movie.Up there with Spiderman. 5 stars
8/15/05 John Kung Fu Hustle R1 DvD is edited. Blood has been taken out and a scene has been shortened 4 stars
8/14/05 Ebru Germeyan Not even a Cartoon movie could top this movie 5 stars
8/13/05 othree next level. solid story, cast, imagery, believable cheeziness 5 stars
8/12/05 Justin Kline Funnier Than Heck 4 stars
7/16/05 Kathy terPlugg Not as good as KUNG POW: ENTER THE FIST. 3 stars
7/05/05 jim even better than Revenge of the Sith 5 stars
6/25/05 Sean Poon It has more depth than it appears to be 5 stars
6/14/05 jameth burketh Absolutely hillarious-gets better with repeated viewing. A very clever film 5 stars
6/08/05 Gray It was fun 4 stars
6/06/05 captain craig the more I see it, the more I like it 5 stars
5/27/05 juli Matrix fights ripped off Hong Kong movies to begin with 5 stars
5/21/05 Cham Like watching a live-action violent cartoon. 4 stars
5/21/05 kemalx78 very funy when i watching this i amnt boring 5 stars
5/16/05 Shawn Borucki Excellent film, Stephen Chow tops "Shaolin Soccer" with mixing gangs and land ladies.. 5 stars
5/10/05 Morrigan Matrix Ripoffs? You sir are an idiot. 5 stars
5/08/05 Ka-Poon Chan Its a very good film, a different outlook from this genre of film making! 4 stars
5/04/05 Koitus Was the urination scene REALLY necessary??? Also, MANY scenes were "Matrix" rip-offs... 2 stars
5/02/05 michaelb14 "I did'nt know The Lion's Roar could be done with a speaker!" 5 stars
5/01/05 your worst goddamn nightmare Take a bit of Loony Toons and Jackie Chan and you've got this. Sounds terrible, BUT........ 5 stars
5/01/05 Dorothy Malm quite entertaining, a lot of fun 5 stars
4/30/05 Chris Stephens This is one cool movie 5 stars
4/28/05 Titus Way cool. 5 stars
4/27/05 Uncle Salty See it. Love it. 5 stars
4/27/05 Colleen Godlrick unique 5 stars
4/27/05 Jeff Anderson A high energy, hysterical & full-throttle BLAST! More fun than all 3 MATRIX films combined! 5 stars
4/26/05 Naka God, YES!!! 5 stars
4/25/05 Whatevr Oh, dizzamn! 5 stars
4/25/05 KingNeutron Fkg awesome, wacky, goofy, sometimes disturbing, and oddly... moving. See twice! 5 stars
4/23/05 jeff not as good as house of flying daggers but still funny and awsome 5 stars
4/23/05 jakob it rocked hard. 5 stars
4/19/05 jordan can you give kung fu hustle movie 0n dvd 2004 2 stars
4/18/05 Al Guy I love it! Watch out for the Hollywood "remake". 5 stars
4/14/05 Gray this movie was great fun! 5 stars
4/12/05 Junior LaRoche Great! Sony Classics know how to release films, unlike Miramax. 5 stars
4/12/05 visual A must-see!!!! 5 stars
4/11/05 Mr. Majestyk If you can't enjoy this movie, you need a blowjob. 5 stars
4/11/05 Dan Olson Good, but not Chow's best and not worth the acclaim 4 stars
4/09/05 Vince Not overly hilarious, but fun. 4 stars
4/09/05 mahn erfa 5 stars
4/07/05 Lina Correa everyone should borrow this from their friend with the large DVD collection 4 stars
4/01/05 kran must watch 5 stars
3/25/05 Greg Ursic Outstanding!! Never have I seen that many reviewers mock fighting in a lobby. 5 stars
3/08/05 vu Awesome 5 stars
3/02/05 michael weber gwaaaaaaaaaa!!!! 3 stars
2/24/05 jandro Great and Side-Splitting funny, Chow sure knows how to tickle the funny bone 5 stars
2/12/05 anthony hilarious and energetic fun! but the script couldve used more work 4 stars
2/07/05 KEVIN TRINH A MUST SEE MOVIE 5 stars
2/07/05 Zach a must-watch! 5 stars
1/29/05 Ery amazingly beautiful and funny 5 stars
1/28/05 buddy garrett same old formula 2 stars
1/28/05 keith james CHOW (GETS) DOWN! 4 stars
1/12/05 Maya gut-busting funny, way cool fight scenes, and unpredictable. i'm now a huge fan. 5 stars
1/11/05 Josh Funniest film i've seen for ages - very stylish too 5 stars
1/10/05 Miles Bader Hits every note just right, silly and affectionate 5 stars
1/08/05 Francis Ayock Stephen Chow homage to the Cantonese Martial Arts films of the last few decades. 5 stars
1/01/05 Dominique Incredibly hilarious - far better than Shaolin Soccer! 5 stars
1/01/05 alicia yeo shi ling absolutely funny! 4 stars
12/23/04 ArQ Chow did it again! 5 stars
9/20/04 Naka Hysterical!!! 5 stars
9/15/04 Pop very good film 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  08-Apr-2005 (R)
  DVD: 09-Aug-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  11-Aug-2005




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