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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Stephen Chow
Yuen Qiu
Yuen Wah
Chiu Chi Ling
Dong Zhi Hua
Leung Siu Ling .
Directors
Stephen Chow.
Screenwriters
Stephen Chow
Chan Man Keung
Lola Huo.
Running Time
99 minutes

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Kung Fu Hustle
A giant kick in the nuts for Hollywood.


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Plot
China, the 1940s. Blundering into rickety ghetto Pig Sty Ally, smalltime bandit Sing (Chow) attempts to blackmail the locals by posing as a member of the feared Axe Gang. When the villagers click and the Axe Gang pitch up, Sing is caught in-between a raging turf battle that reveals some unexpected martial artistry from the locals...


Review
Kung Fu Hustle
Ever since Crouching Tiger, when dumb chopsocky went martial arthouse, the good old-fashioned fisticuff has turned into an acceptable and polite form of entertainment. Artful. Epic. Balletic. Often preoccupied with bamboo. Still, if the likes of House Of Hero Tigers are now dinner party banter, here, at last, is one for the pub. We are, after all, talking about a movie that dubs pinball noises over its fight scenes. Balletic? It's like a bull on rollerblades.

Kung Fu Hustle has already become something of a phenomenon in Asia, punching up box-office records across the continent. That this is largely down to one man, the agonisingly multi-talented Stephen Chow, is nothing short of heroic. Writer, director, producer and star, on-screen he's the heir apparent to Jackie Chan, while behind the camera he's a hyperactive stylist, an Oriental Sam Raimi. It's heartening to see that he's also bit of a lunatic. If Hero was stupidly beautiful, this is beautifully stupid.

Chow cut his teeth on the criminally underseen Shaolin Soccer, which, along with being on-the-money dumb, used inventive CGI to liven up the superhuman footie. In the bigger budget Hustle, Chow's allowed to run riot with his preposterous visions. It's a spaghetti Western via Enter The Dragon and Tom And Jerry, where screams are like earthquakes and foot chases are clocked at Roadrunner speed. Hollywood would never allow such state of the art absurdity. It'd probably steer clear of the gallows humour, too. If the slapstick intentions are Tex Avery, the oofing punchline's more often Evil Dead. But that's the perverse buzz of Kung Fu Hustle. It's like watching a blockbuster beamed from another planet.

For all its thundering effects and flickbook edits, it is, at heart, rabidly retro, recalling the lunacy of Chinese Ghost Story and the knuckle-basics of the Shaw brothers: that is, minimum plot, maximum rumble. The elaborate, copious fight scenes, choreographed by The Matrix's Yuen Wo Ping, often beggar belief. If you don't have weird peanut dreams after watching the two old, blind assassins thrash their trowly fingernails over the strings of a homicidal harp, you were probably watching with your eyes closed. Subtle it ain't and God is it loud - half the time it's like having your head trapped between a pair of cymbals - but, really, it's one giant kick in the nuts for Hollywood.


Verdict
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Roadrunner? Whatever: invigorating, bombastic, out-there and very funny, Kung Fu Hustle pummels The Matrix trilogy into a puddle.


Reviewed by Simon Crook


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Kung Fu Hustle
Empire Star Rating

Best Kung fu film ever love it ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Joelrobinson at 23:05, 04 January 2011 | Report This Post


Refreshing

This is quite simply magic. More of this lunatic comedy genius please Steven! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by trojanvoodoo at 01:52, 28 October 2007 | Report This Post


I'm starting Kung Fu today!

That was a great film! A bit crazy, but very funny. I loved it! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by kimitoh81 at 10:04, 20 July 2006 | Report This Post


I'm starting Kung Fu today!

That was a great film! A bit crazy, but very funny. I loved it! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by kimitoh81 at 10:04, 20 July 2006 | Report This Post


SUBLIME! This film is so full of energy it would be impossible not to enjoy it! Fusing western, gangster and kung fu films into a live action cartoon, this film can't be missed. Watch it TONIGHT!!!!!! Mr Orange ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mr Orange at 08:39, 28 June 2006 | Report This Post


Amazing

It has to be said that it takes time getting into it but once you do its unbeliveable. I'm nearly lost for words on how good it is but i'll have a stab at it, fight scenes, characters and end fight scene. So I think it's clear to say I like this film and by the way I do recommend the film HIGHLY. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by C. T. at 22:36, 24 June 2006 | Report This Post


Kung Fu Hustle

Very rarely am I lost for words about a movie, but this one has got me good. Quite possibly the most original, creative, imaginative, hilariously funny film I have seen in ages. Stephen Chow manages to mix Tex Avery cartoon-style with outrageous characters and incredible kick-ass fight sequences. I haven't enjoyed a movie so much than I have with this for such a long time ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by wrenster at 14:15, 23 February 2006 | Report This Post


Kung Fu MAGIC!

Why isnt there more films like this? Its full to the brim of action, comedy and suspense. Hollywood should be taking notes. Its a chinese version of Scary Movie! All the characters are well acted true to life, my favourite Brother Sum was a cruel but entertaining character. If you havent seen this then you havent seen anything! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Silent lamb at 18:10, 20 February 2006 | Report This Post


Worlds coolest assassins

This film was stunning. The fights are awesome, the comedy is brilliant and as for the harp killers-wow! The best bit has got to be when he throws the knife at himself and his mate does the same. Where can i buy a harp like that? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by cerberous at 11:23, 13 February 2006 | Report This Post


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