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Overall Rating
4.51

Awesome60.23%
Worth A Look: 34.09%
Average: 2.84%
Pretty Bad: 2.27%
Total Crap: 0.57%

14 reviews, 92 user ratings


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Kung Fu Hustle
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by Tom Ciorciari

"Imagine Loony Tunes done in animé"
4 stars

In Stephen Chow's deliciously loopy slapstick-martial arts hybrid "Kung Fu Hustle" the East of the "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"/"Hero" school of Chinese cinema meets the West of the Tex Avery/"The Mask" school of bop-'em-over-the-head American comedy to create something wonderfully original and wickedly funny.

The time is roughly the 1940s and the vicious Axe Gang rules with neither prejudice, nor conscience, but an uncanny ability to line dance. The only place deemed unworthy of their attentions is the aptly named Pig Sty alley, an over-crowded tenement ruled by a greedy, sleazy landlord (Wah Yuen) and his harridan wife (Qiu Yuen), a perpetually housecoat clad, hair-curlered, cigarette-smoking face smacker. Enter into this humblest of communities Sing (Chow) and his roly poly sidekick (Chi Chung Lam), two Axe Gang wannabes. Finding the banshee-voiced landlady and her tenants more than they bargained for the two attempt to assassinate the she-demon, in one of the film's funniest scenes, with a trio of knives and a cage filled with cobras. Sing and his sidekick do end up being accepted into the Axe gang as they go up against the residents of Pig Sty Alley, who just happen to be kung fu masters in hiding, with increasingly disastrous results. Professional assassins are brought in and, in one case, exhumed from an asylum as the war between the good poor and evil gangsters escalates, and it is ultimately up to Sing to find the hero warrior in himself. If you think you know the answer, you're probably right. But that really isn't the point.

In Kung Fu Hustle, much as he did in 2001's Shoalin Soccer, Chow takes a little of this and a bit of that and creates something uniquely Stephen Chow. Comparisons have been made to, among others, Tarantino, but it must be remembered that the aesthetic that Tarantino brought to both Kill Bills (particularly Part 1's climatic samuri slaughter) were borrowed from the very likes of Chow in the first place. Of course there are also echoes of the Wachowski brothers' Matrix films, as well, but these were also influenced in no small part by Chow's predecessors. It is no coincidence that the fight scenes are choreographed by the same people who created the wonderfully balletic fight scenes in The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. And yet it is the wildly wacky humor that perseveres. From out-of-nowhere references to The Shining and Chow's own Shoalin Soccer to a shot by shot replication of a scene from Bruce Lee's Fists Of Death, Chow's instinct is spot on.

Yes, Kung Fu Hustle manages to maintain some of the visual poetry of its native forebearers, but it is also laugh-until-you-cry funny in a manner that most contemporary American directors attempting to work in the genre are unable to even comprehend. And seeing as the humor itself it so unabashedly American by design one cannot help but be somewhat vexed.

If you're looking for a fantastically imaginative, rip-roaring blend of action and comedy then "Kung Fu Hustle" is just what the doctor ordered. If not, the new Ashton Kutcher movie's probably playing in the next theater.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=10619&reviewer=384
originally posted: 04/26/05 11:43:08
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Toronto Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. For more in the 2005 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/02/13 Atari TwentySixHundred Flaxman, totally missed the mark. This film is beautiful, fun, and exciting! 5 stars
1/05/10 stephan chow fan forever ok.. if you want to get the full effects of the movie, then learn chinese (puns and stuff) 5 stars
12/23/09 Cody This movie is one of the best I've ever seen and I am waiting for the 2010 sequel 5 stars
8/01/09 VISHNU SHARMA I LOVE SUCH MOVIE 5 stars
8/30/08 Shaun Wallner The Action was Amazing! 5 stars
3/13/08 ako excellent film by Chow with indepth understanding of the 3 level of Kung Fu. 5 stars
6/06/07 tracey chambers great movie. funny as hell. 5 stars
5/06/07 fools♫gold Die?! In this racket? 5 stars
4/18/07 David Pollastrini pretty silly! 2 stars
2/07/07 AJ Muller Drops laughs and ass-whuppins our way in old school WB style. Awesome. 4 stars
1/09/07 Drew Galletti As a kung-fu nerd, a well done, humorous homage to the genre 5 stars
12/08/06 UGB Definately worth a look - I thought it pretty funny 4 stars
7/06/06 drydock54321 just like a live action cartoon. Love that lion roar. 5 stars
5/05/06 Jason Terrible, unfunny movie. I'd rather watch a Tony Jaa movie 1 stars
3/31/06 Steb A kung fu comedy! What more could you ask for? 5 stars
2/12/06 brewt hustle me good 4 stars
1/01/06 metalhead Kung Fu Hustle is Freakin Sweet! One of the greatest movies ever made. 5 stars
11/16/05 Adrian Unique in every aspect...and thats what makes it so damn good and fun to watch. 5 stars
10/14/05 eddiejohns Funny and action-packed. I liked this combo. 4 stars
10/14/05 Indrid Cold A cross between "Crouching Tiger" and "Kung Pao"; dumb but entertaining. 4 stars
9/24/05 Mark Radburn A Kick-Ass Asian movie, A must-see 5 stars
9/22/05 Fritz Kind of amusing, but not as funny as it thinks it is. 3 stars
9/17/05 millersxing riki tiki tembo no sa rembo chari bari ruchi pip peri pembo 5 stars
9/11/05 Rever_Bear-Trap This RATING says it all! 5 stars
9/11/05 Alex Robert Rodriguez died 5 stars
9/09/05 Phil M. Aficionado The more I think about it, the better I like it; stunningly chaotic and funny and lively 5 stars
9/02/05 Zack it pretty sweet 3 stars
9/02/05 JFK great asian comedy. 4 stars
8/29/05 Quigley doesn't deliver what it promises. the CG wasn't great and neither were the fight scenes. 3 stars
8/28/05 Tom Burns This movie was amazing. 5 stars
8/25/05 Kat Scrumtrilacent with a hint of stellar. 5 stars
8/23/05 Nick Great movie.Up there with Spiderman. 5 stars
8/15/05 John Kung Fu Hustle R1 DvD is edited. Blood has been taken out and a scene has been shortened 4 stars
8/15/05 Ebru Germeyan Not even a Cartoon movie could top this movie 5 stars
8/14/05 othree next level. solid story, cast, imagery, believable cheeziness 5 stars
8/13/05 Justin Kline Funnier Than Heck 4 stars
7/17/05 Kathy terPlugg Not as good as KUNG POW: ENTER THE FIST. 3 stars
7/05/05 jim even better than Revenge of the Sith 5 stars
6/25/05 Sean Poon It has more depth than it appears to be 5 stars
6/14/05 jameth burketh Absolutely hillarious-gets better with repeated viewing. A very clever film 5 stars
6/09/05 Gray It was fun 4 stars
6/07/05 captain craig the more I see it, the more I like it 5 stars
5/27/05 juli Matrix fights ripped off Hong Kong movies to begin with 5 stars
5/22/05 Cham Like watching a live-action violent cartoon. 4 stars
5/21/05 kemalx78 very funy when i watching this i amnt boring 5 stars
5/17/05 Shawn Borucki Excellent film, Stephen Chow tops "Shaolin Soccer" with mixing gangs and land ladies.. 5 stars
5/10/05 Morrigan Matrix Ripoffs? You sir are an idiot. 5 stars
5/09/05 Ka-Poon Chan Its a very good film, a different outlook from this genre of film making! 4 stars
5/05/05 Koitus Was the urination scene REALLY necessary??? Also, MANY scenes were "Matrix" rip-offs... 2 stars
5/03/05 michaelb14 "I did'nt know The Lion's Roar could be done with a speaker!" 5 stars
5/02/05 your worst goddamn nightmare Take a bit of Loony Toons and Jackie Chan and you've got this. Sounds terrible, BUT........ 5 stars
5/02/05 Dorothy Malm quite entertaining, a lot of fun 5 stars
4/30/05 Chris Stephens This is one cool movie 5 stars
4/29/05 Titus Way cool. 5 stars
4/28/05 Uncle Salty See it. Love it. 5 stars
4/28/05 Colleen Godlrick unique 5 stars
4/27/05 Jeff Anderson A high energy, hysterical & full-throttle BLAST! More fun than all 3 MATRIX films combined! 5 stars
4/27/05 Naka God, YES!!! 5 stars
4/26/05 Whatevr Oh, dizzamn! 5 stars
4/25/05 KingNeutron Fkg awesome, wacky, goofy, sometimes disturbing, and oddly... moving. See twice! 5 stars
4/24/05 jeff not as good as house of flying daggers but still funny and awsome 5 stars
4/23/05 jakob it rocked hard. 5 stars
4/20/05 jordan can you give kung fu hustle movie 0n dvd 2004 2 stars
4/19/05 Al Guy I love it! Watch out for the Hollywood "remake". 5 stars
4/14/05 Gray this movie was great fun! 5 stars
4/13/05 Junior LaRoche Great! Sony Classics know how to release films, unlike Miramax. 5 stars
4/13/05 visual A must-see!!!! 5 stars
4/12/05 Mr. Majestyk If you can't enjoy this movie, you need a blowjob. 5 stars
4/11/05 Dan Olson Good, but not Chow's best and not worth the acclaim 4 stars
4/10/05 Vince Not overly hilarious, but fun. 4 stars
4/09/05 mahn erfa 5 stars
4/08/05 Lina Correa everyone should borrow this from their friend with the large DVD collection 4 stars
4/02/05 kran must watch 5 stars
3/26/05 Greg Ursic Outstanding!! Never have I seen that many reviewers mock fighting in a lobby. 5 stars
3/09/05 vu Awesome 5 stars
3/03/05 michael weber gwaaaaaaaaaa!!!! 3 stars
2/25/05 jandro Great and Side-Splitting funny, Chow sure knows how to tickle the funny bone 5 stars
2/12/05 anthony hilarious and energetic fun! but the script couldve used more work 4 stars
2/08/05 KEVIN TRINH A MUST SEE MOVIE 5 stars
2/07/05 Zach a must-watch! 5 stars
1/30/05 Ery amazingly beautiful and funny 5 stars
1/29/05 buddy garrett same old formula 2 stars
1/29/05 keith james CHOW (GETS) DOWN! 4 stars
1/13/05 Maya gut-busting funny, way cool fight scenes, and unpredictable. i'm now a huge fan. 5 stars
1/12/05 Josh Funniest film i've seen for ages - very stylish too 5 stars
1/11/05 Miles Bader Hits every note just right, silly and affectionate 5 stars
1/09/05 Francis Ayock Stephen Chow homage to the Cantonese Martial Arts films of the last few decades. 5 stars
1/01/05 Dominique Incredibly hilarious - far better than Shaolin Soccer! 5 stars
1/01/05 alicia yeo shi ling absolutely funny! 4 stars
12/24/04 ArQ Chow did it again! 5 stars
9/21/04 Naka Hysterical!!! 5 stars
9/16/04 Pop very good film 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  08-Apr-2005 (R)
  DVD: 09-Aug-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  11-Aug-2005




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