Thursday, August 27, 2015

Film Review: Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Kung Fu Hustle (Review)
China/2004
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...one of the most entertaining movies you'll ever watch."

In 1930s Shanghai, the Axe Gang reigns supreme; only the poorest neighborhoods are spared by the rampant gangs. One day, two troublemaking impersonators of the Axe Gang stumble into Pig Sty Alley, where their plan snowballs out of control...

Kung Fu Hustle follows the Pig Sty Alley community, the ruthless Axe Gang, and Sing (Stephen Chow). Sing and his pal Bone are losers scamming people into believing they're part of the Axe Gang. When Sing and Bone's plans fall apart due to the very strong locals, Sing manages to incidentally lure the real Axe Gang to Pig Sty Alley. Unfortunately for the thugs, Pig Sty Alley has several kung fu masters that easily defend the community. From there on, Pig Sty Alley discuss how they'll defend themselves — kicking out the kung fu masters and avoiding conflict; the Axe Gang schemes on how they'll take their vengeance — hire the coldest killers; and, finally, Sing plans on joining the Axe Gang, but he has to kill someone first. All of these dilemmas leads to an epic climax and great ending.

Kung Fu Hustle is a masterpiece. Let me get that off my chest now. Kung Fu Hustle is a masterful blend of slapstick comedy and over-the-top action. The film is simply brimming with fun. It's the definition of entertainment. Those familiar with Stephen Chow's signature humor can expect more of the same — zany slapstick, a few vulgar gags, plenty of quick quips, and some hilarious references. The action sequences are ridiculously over-the-top. Bodies being flung into the air like rag dolls and buildings exploding from the ferocious kung fu are only a fraction of the action.

Being a big fan of Stephen Chow, I knew what to expect and I loved it. However, this film goes the extra mile for me. Not only does it seamlessly blend the uproarious humor and epic fight scenes, but it also builds an immersive world — that's the extra mile. It drops you into 1930s Shanghai filled with the impoverished and the criminals — the righteous and the corrupt. It crafts these unforgettable characters, each with their own personalities; and, when it comes to the kung fu masters, each with their own style. It's such a vibrant and engaging world. I couldn't keep my eyes off this spectacle.

Stephen Chow is as charismatic and energetic as ever. He's an incredibly funny and charming leading man. The supporting cast, such as Yuen Qiu, also match the energy. The film is shot well. The cinematography and camerawork are great — it's great on the eyes. The music is superb, very catchy and seamless. The music is one of the reasons I was so immersed into this film. Writer and director Stephen Chow crafts a superb world through a unique and creative plot and zany set of characters. There is so much detail and character in this film, it's difficult to keep your eyes off of it. Chow also proves himself in creating splendid action sequences.

Overall, Kung Fu Hustle is a fantastic film. Every second of this film is unbelievably entertaining. I hardly ever stopped smiling, I laughed out loud, and I loved the over-the-top action. The film's vibrant world and unforgettable characters are the cherry-on-top. For me, this is Stephen Chow's best film. (Although I haven't seen them all just yet...) On top of that, it's one of the most entertaining movies you'll ever watch. Don't miss it.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and gore -- far from graphic mostly used for comedic effect. Some brief nudity.

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