Kung Fu Hustle is a spectacle you have to see to believe. If I were to tell you that this Cantonese marital arts film entails characters that act like the looney tune characters on amphetamines would you even believe me? While most of the martial arts films like crouching tiger hidden dragon (2000) and hero (2002) are depicted in the upmost elegant manner, Stephen Chow takes the revered and graceful genre to another level by making it the most ridiculous spectacle to ever be seen.
Set in shanghai, china in the 1940s, the story revolves around a town who is ruled by the feared axe gang. Sing (Chow) desperately wants to become a member but accidentally stumbles upon pig sty alley which is ruled by landlords who turn out to be the greatest kung fu masters. sing's foolish actions eventually cause the axe gang and slumlords to engage in an kung-fu battle of epic proportions.
Chow has directed and acted in his own films since the 90's but it wasnt till the popularity of Shaolin Soccer (2001) that allowed Hustle to be picked up by Columbia Pictures Asia to be made. the film encompasses all that is absurd and theatrical about the kung-fu genre where human fists and kicks can indent opponents' faces inward and people can be throw out of buildings, face plant to the ground, and still be alive. although i havent seen many marital arts films, i would say because of its eccentricity and originality that it is one of the best film to come out of the genre. comically, chow made himself to resemble bruce lee with the exactly hair cut and attire that the icon usually struts with. he even appropriately brought his own childhood icon leung sui lung, a famous martial art actor in the 70's to play the impossible beast. Underneath its moronic and absurd qualities, the story tells a heartfelt tale about underdogs and outcasts and how together as a community can beat the odds against ruthless gangsters. indeed like takashi miike's ichi the killer (2001), kung fu hustle is something that must be seen to believe because words just dont cut it anymore, mark my words. A