Get your kicks
"Kung-Fu Hustle" may be a little tired in the plot department, but what the heck it's packed with good, fun martial-arts action courtesy of famed fight choreographer Yuan Wu-Ping.
By JASON GREY
There are no new stories.
Everything has already been told.
|Directed by: Stephen Chow.|
Written by: Cheong Tsang Kan, Stephen Chow, Huo Xin, Keung Chan Man.
Cast: Chan Kwok Kuen, Chow Stephen, Feng Xiaogang, Hua Dong Zhi, Huang Shengyi, Shengyi Huang, Lam Chi Chung, Leung Siu Lung, Liang Hsiao, Ling Chiu Chi, Lung Leung Siu, Yuen Qiu, Yuen Wah, Yu Xing.
Cinematography: Poon Hang-Sang.
Edited by: Angie Lam.
Fight choreography: Yuan Wu-Ping.
In Cantonese and Mandarin with English subtitles.
Related links: Official site
Modern writers are just rehashing Shakespeare and stories from the Bible.
Popular statements from frustrated screenwriters and moviegoers alike.
Maybe the movie industry is low on ideas. At the very least there are new ways to tell old stories. Whatever the case, it doesn't really matter in "Kung-Fu Hustle." If you've seen a love story, a gangster story, a kung-fu action film, and some Looney Tunes cartoons you are more than set for Stephen Chow's new expression for the kung-fu film.
"Kung-Fu Hustle" is the story of the Axe-gang's rise to power in pre-Revolutionary China. A gang of axe-wielding thugs that are just as handy with a hatchet as they are with machine-guns, they are an army in the streets and dancers in the nightclubs. They have no need for the people of Pig-Sty Alley and would not have any interest there if Sing (Stephen Chow) and his partner two wannabe gang members didn't attempt to extort money from the poor merchants there. To everyone's surprise, several kung-fu masters live in Pig-Sty Alley from and they will not be easily pushed around.
Sing's exploits and his delusions of kung-fu grandeur mixed with his desire for gangster glamour start a war between the Axe-Gang and the residents of Pig-Sty Alley. And that's when the fun begins. Axes fly! Fists fly! One man takes on twenty! Various techniques of kung-fu are displayed. Sounds like the makings of a good kung-fu movie.|
It certainly does but is Yuan Wu-Ping on board?
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Yuan Wu-Ping is on board for this one and he's having a blast. If you aren't familiar with the name, he's a stunt choreographer who has been escalating movie fight sequences and techniques since he started swinging martial artists from wires. He took kung-fu action and exaggerated it to sophisticated tall-tale-like levels in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and wowed audiences with digitally enhanced kung-fu fights in "The Matrix." He's a master in martial art stunt choreography and needs to be credited as much as writer-director Stephen Chow.
If you're looking for reality, stay away. But if you're looking to escape it, step right up. In "Kung-Fu Hustle," everything from the characters to the martial arts themselves are wrapped in a cartoon world a lot like that of the Looney Tunes. But this film is not animated with ink. It's all live action. It's the special effects that make belly's wiggle like jelly, running legs spin with the fury of the Road Runner and roundhouse kicks register like a hammer to an anvil. Kung-fu styles and basic movements are expressed in figurative visuals, creating a spectacular display that enhances the physical combat. All of which creates a unique and new look to a fight. Wu-Tang swords fly from harps, high-pitched screams take out building walls and the mentally strong Toad Style is literally expressed here and it's all very entertaining and amusing.|
"Kung-Fu Hustle" is definitely a must-see for fans of the kung-fu genre, and it's great for those who are less familiar with kung-fu films. If you are not a fan of kung-fu movies and don't follow the iconography of its fine history, don't worry, "Kung-Fu Hustle" is humorous and action-packed. It isn't full of moral lessons or lots of deep philosophy. It's high-energy, super-stylized, festive action. Well worth it.
|APRIL 8, 2005|
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Reader comments on Kung-Fu Hustle:
Uh huh from FLUVIRUS, Jul 10, 2006
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