Kung Fu Hustle (2004) Review

"Kung Fu Hustle" Japanese DVD Cover

"Kung Fu Hustle" Japanese DVD Cover

Director: Stephen Chow
Producer: Chui Po Chu, Jeff Lau
Cast: Stephen Chow, Yuen Wah, Yuen Qiu, Leung Siu Lung, Huang Sheng Yi, Chan Kwok Kwan, Lam Tze Chung, Tung Chi Hwa, Chiu Chi Ling, Xing Yu, Feng Xiao Gang
Running Time: 99 min.

By Peach

“Kung Fu Hustle” is Stephen Chow’s violent, computer effects-driven, wacky dedication to corny kung fu flicks of the 1970s. The film’s main attraction is the candy while everything else takes a back seat.

That’s not to say “Kung Fu Hustle” is totally brainless. It has touches of thoughtful, comedic moments that can only come from a comic genius like Chow. The film’s direction, design and soundtrack are tightly produced and the action scenes are some of the most creative I’ve seen in a long time.

The slick chorographed work of Yuen Woo Ping is enhanced with CG, making most of the fight scenes exaggerated and surreal. Some of the film’s in your face violence caught me off guard. I knew the film was R-rated, but I didn’t expect to see as much blood as I did. Somehow, the defined violence complimented the rest of the film’s wackiness.

The characters in “Kung Fu Hustle” are colorful with over-the-top attributes and skills (think Saturday morning cartoons). Pay attention to some of the kung fu masters as a couple of them are players from old Hong Kong flicks. Even Bruce Lee fanatics will smile when they catch a few obvious references to their star.

If you can deal with a below average story line, you’ll certainly enjoy “Kung Fu Hustle.” The film definitely sucked me in. And while I’d occasionally grow a little bored, before I knew it, some nice visuals would kick in and I’d find myself entertained again.

Depending on what you’re expecting, “Kung Fu Hustle” may or may not be for you. It wouldn’t hurt for you to see it at least once.

Peach’s Rating: 8/10

By Equinox21

I’m not sure if it’s the mood I was in when I watched it, my expectations for this film or the film itself, but, I was fairly let down by Kung Fu Hustle. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, I just didn’t see anything special in it. Besides, I’ve seen it all before.

Sing is a 2-bit, lower than small-time thug. He wants to be part of the Axe Gang, the most feared gang around. The only people that don’t fear the Axe Gang are the residents of Pig Sty Alley. They have, in their midst, a number of kung fu masters who protect the building complex from the gang and their various hired killers. That is, until they meet the Beast, the number one killer in the world. How will they ever defeat him?

I won’t spoil any of the story, even though it’s pretty easy to guess. The special effects are really what make this movie work. There are a few parts that really had me in awe (and understanding why this movie too so long to be released). But other than that, I really didn’t think there was much to it. I’d seen a similar story in Arahan (the Korean film, which itself reminded me a lot of Shaolin Soccer), and I enjoyed that one more. The comedy in Arahan also worked much better. I just didn’t find Kung Fu Hustle very funny at all. Thankfully, the fighting and special effects partially made up for the lack of comedy and original story ideas, but it still wasn’t enough for me.

I think everyone will see Kung Fu Hustle, simply because everyone loved Shaolin Soccer so much. That’s great, and I want to see Steven Chow release more films like he’s been doing. I just don’t think this was his best, or even close to it. But, overall it was still enjoyable.

Equinox21’s Rating: 6/10

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