Film of the week: Kung Fu Hustle | From the Observer | The Guardian
It's hard to watch Kung Fu Hustle without letting a smile creep onto your face. Set in Shanghai in , Hustle tells the story of Sing, a small-time hustler with the gradual introduction of each style ramps up the film's first major fight scene. If you don't have Kung Fu Hustle yet, by all means pick up this. Stuck in the middle is Chow's wretched, two-bit loser, Sing, whose feeble to be whizzo kung fu queens, snappy gangsters break into dance routines and At its worst, Kung Fu Hustle plays like Carry on Kung Fu, with try to make The Guardian sustainable by deepening our relationship with our readers. The work of international superstar Stephen Chow, Kung Fu Hustle is a humorous, A bumbling thief named Sing (Stephen Chow) desires to be the toughest . On top of all this, Chow, with the help of legendary fight choreographers Yuen story subplot, but the end product is so enjoyable it's easy to forgive any missteps.
Now comes Chow's mental-as-anything magnum opus, Kung Fu Hustle, in which he throws everything into the mix, with very peculiar results indeed. Waving its flying fists and feet in the air in 50 directions at once, this is an all-dancing, all-fighting Chinese western, replete with rubber-faced punch-ups, computer graphic monsters, gratuitous bum jokes, and bizarre bodily bendings aplenty. Alongside affectionate homages to its Hong Kong heritage, lent nostalgic charm by the presence of 'retired' performers such as Leung Siu Lung and Yuen Qiu, Kung Fu Hustle brandishes not-very-sly nods to a baffling array of movies and TV shows, from the Fred and Ginger romance of Top Hat to the tidal wave of blood from Kubrick's The Shining.
What there is of a plot concerns an ongoing hustle between the ruthless mobsters of the Axe Gang seemingly dressed by the same tailors who kitted out Scorsese's Gangs of New York and the poor folk of Pig Sty Alley who unknowingly harbour a pair of ageing martial-arts masters.
Stuck in the middle is Chow's wretched, two-bit loser, Sing, whose feeble impersonation of an Axe Gang member incurs the wrath of both sides.
Top 20 Stephen Chow Movies - IMDb
He's patently unable to rob, kill, pillage and maim in a manner befitting a true gangster, the result of having been sold a duff kung fu booklet as a kid.
Sing is forced to face up to his own heroic destiny - sort of. In the film's neatest nod to the past, though, many of the characters are played by actors from earlier eras of Hong Kong film, some of whom hadn't been in front of a camera in decades. Yuen Qiu's scowling, chain-smoking Landlady marks her first appearance since she played a teenager in 's James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun.
Leung Siu Lung, who plays the Beast, hadn't been seen on screen since the '80s. Knowing that isn't necessary to enjoy Kung Fu Hustle's action, though.
Kung Fu Hustle - PopMatters
We're used to seeing people doing impossible things courtesy of wires and computers, but several sequences in Kung Fu Hustle are notable even by those standards. The initial battle in Pig Sty Alley choreographed by Sammo Hung, before he dropped out for health reasons is a visual lesson in each master's style and also shows these middle-aged men moving with surprising grace and power.
A later battle in the Axe Gang's headquarters involving the Landlord, the Landlady, and the Beast -- drawn up by Yuen Woo Ping, who replaced Hung -- is a mixture of cartoonish humor and raw power. By the time we get to the final showdown between the Beast, the One, and countless Axe Gang members, we're practically drunk on kung fu fun -- and it's a good feeling.
- The movie's delightful mix of action and makes these fight scenes little stories all their own.
It's hard to watch Kung Fu Hustle without letting a smile creep onto your face. Set in Canton, China in the s, Kung Fu Hustle begins with a scene of outsized corruption and violence, establishing the near-hopeless world that Sing will change even as it changes him. An initial city-street face-off between rival gangs establishes the dominance of the Axe Gang -- the action so hectic and ferocious the film's fights and wirework are choreographed by the brilliant Yuen Wo Ping and Sammo Hung that you fully appreciate their reputation by the time you meet Sing, who wants to become a member.
He wants this so badly that he and his running buddy Lam Tze Chung pose as members in order to harass Pig Sty Alley, a small community, into paying up big time. They hope to impress the head of the Axe Gang, but the townspeople prove remarkably resilient, to the point that they are harboring, even unbeknownst to themselves, a crew of hardcore kung fu masters -- each with his or her own style, part classic and part antic.
The movie's delightful mix of action and comedy -- cartoonish, Jackie-Channish, fantastic -- makes these fight scenes little stories all their own, as if each kick or leap was an adjective or a verb, in precise and thrilling relation to the one before.
Top 20 Stephen Chow Movies
The newly aroused Pig Sty Alley fighters are the tailor Chiu Chi Lingthe coolie Xing Yuand baker Donut Dong Zhi Huaall pleased enough to discover one another that in between battles with the bad guys, they test one another, because, of course, that's what they do: Also enlisted are the lascivious Landlord Yuen Wah and his money-mongering wife, the Landlady Yuen Qiu, returning to the screen after almost 30 years.
Introduced as supporting-character stereotypes, they soon become part of Sing's emergence process, helping him to achieve his various ends -- to defend the town, find himself, and of course, defeat the bully Axe Gangers. Landlady's skills include the Lion's Roar, whereby she opens her mouth and lets loose, blowing down everything in front of her "That fat lady can really sing, and she deserves to die," reads the translation of Sing's initial reaction.