Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Kung Fu Hustle

I didn't know exactly what to expect from this movie, having seen only a trailer and not having read much about it. Turns out it's an all-dancing kung-fu action comedy musical.

See there's this guy who wants to be a ganster join the Axe Gang (they all wear top hats and tuxes). The Axe guys are very evil, but they can dance. The wannbe goe to Pig Sty Alley, posing as a member of the gang, and the real gang gets involved. They get their butts kicked by three kung fu masters who are living in PSA incognito. Riled, their leader hires the second and third most dangerous killers in China to take care of things. (The #1 killer is in a mental institution.) The killers aren't good enough. Though they kill the three masters, it turns out that there are two more living there. (One of these is a woman whose ever-present cigarette stays in the corner of her mouth through the most harrowing fights.) One of the dying masters tells her that with great power comes great responsibility. (The subtitle writers had some fun.)

There's more, but why bother? The plot doesn't really matter. What you want to see is the exhilarating action scenes, which are pure fantasy. The director knows it, you know it, and it doesn't matter. They're supposed be absurd. That's the point. The whole movie is beautifully shot, and it looked great on the HDTV screen.

And it's funny. I laughed aloud more than once, and I had a big smile most of the time. If you don't like kung fu action, you'll probably hate the movie. I liked it a lot.


James said...

If you haven't seen it already, I would definitely recommend Stephen Chow's previous film, Shaolin Soccer. Absolutely hilarious.

Unknown said...

I haven't seen it. I'll have to look around for it.

Graham Powell said...

My favorite moment was when the one dying master sits up and says (in English), "What are you prepared to do?"

To which the others reply (in Chinese), "We can't understand what you are saying!"