ReviewWriter: Chan Sue ChingWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast:
NAWatch this if you liked:
Stephen Chow devotees - this one does not disappoint. "Kung Fu Hustle" is a hilarious combination of cartoon-ish live action, slapstick comedy, breathtaking kung fu choreography and outlandish CGI thrown together with a lot of thoughtfulness by director Chow. If you thought Chow was great in "Shaolin Soccer", you'll absolutely love him in this one.
The story takes place in pre-revolutionary China, when gangsters terrorised civilians and the police alike. Axe Gang, a group of axe-wielding mobsters, is the most feared. With slickly-gelled hair, black suits, top hats and nifty moves to boot, Chow combines violence and comedy in his signature style, somewhat reminiscent of "Kill Bill". Call it elegant gore if you will. It's stamped all over the movie, like when the heartless axe-men brutally slice their enemies and then break into a broadway-style dance in celebration.
The only group of people blissfully unaware of these crazy axe-men are the villagers from remote and rundown village Pig Sty Alley. Headed by a flirtatious Landlord and bossy Landlady, the villagers live in relative peace, except the regular fights between the volatile couple. In any case, these poor but happy people have their lives disrupted when Sing (Chow) walks into the village and tries to get away with a free hair cut for his chubby chum (played by newcomer Lam Tze Chung). He pretends to be one of the Axe Gang, unwittingly calling in the brutal mobsters with a firecracker. The Axe-Gang answers with an overwhelming number of men, but are humiliated when the docile residents fight back to victory.
The Axe-Gang leaders leave in a fury, determined to destroy the village completely. Meanwhile, Sing desperately wants to be accepted in the Axe Gang and prove himself a worthy baddie, but he's too soft to kill anybody.
Thus begins an escalated fight between the Axe Gang, the Pig Sty Alley residents, a top kung fu fighter gone cuckoo, and Sing caught in the middle of it all. Look out for a spoof on the Matrix fight - Neo against the Mr Smiths. Chow weaves them all together especially for his fans to enjoy his comic style to its fullest potential.
Definitely one to watch if you are one who enjoyed his previous work, are a fan of Chow's, or are a male. If you lie in none of those categories, you may find a few funny moments, but the rest will fly over you head, like it did mine. It's unnecessarily violent, so that the accompanying humour might repel rather than entertain. Okay, okay, I can already feel many eager fans baring their teeth at me, so I'll end here. Love it or hate it, I'll have to say this one may just propel Chow to international stardom.Cinema Online, 23 September 2008