Kung Fu Hustle
Director: Stephen Chow (Shaolin Soccer)
Writers: Stephen Chow, Xin Huo, Chan Man Keung, Kan-Cheung Tsang
Producers: Stephen Chow, Po Chu Chui, Jeffrey Lau
Starring: Stephen Chow, Xiaogang Feng, Zhi Hua Dong, Wah Yuen, Qiu Yuen, Kwok-Kwan Chan, Chi Chung Lam
MPAA Rating: R
Running time: 95 min
read my spoiler disclaimer

reviewed by Andrew James
     When Roger Ebert said "Jackie Chan meets Bugs Bunny," he wasn't kidding! That's exactly what this was. I have never seen anything quite like Kung Fu Hustle before. Live action kung fu martial arts to the nth degree (ala "The Matrix Reloaded") with sheer whackiness interspersed. Whackiness meaning people running like the road runner, people's feet winding up like Fred Flintstone before they run REALLY fast, characters are flattened like a pancake only to show up 3 minutes later perfectly fine and flower pots falling on people's heads to make that bird chirping sound.

     This is the story of a small part of town that is poor and downtrodden run by one overly hard-nosed landlady. The town minds its own business so it keeps its nose clean from the warring gangs within the city. But one day, a gang finds its way there and the people are left to the mercy of The Axe Gang. Of course they need help, and find help they do, as does The Axe Gang; and so ensues a bloody battle for supremecy.

"The Landlady"...watch out!
     A word about violence. I love it..in movies that is. There is no shortage of violence in Hustle to be sure, but again, most of it is whacky; or in the case of the two hired fighters of the Axe Gang, it is musical...my favorite scene. Most of the really bloody happenings in Hustle occur so fast you don't really seem them, or are covered just right by a crate, telephone pole or some other well placed prop.

     The film is completely in Chinese, so you must read subtitles. Now that I have that out of the way, let me say that "Kung Fu Hustle" was great great fun. No other way to explain it. A slap happy grin was plastered on my face for 90 minutes. Great quirky and diverse characters, slap stick comedy, sweet martial arts scenes and a fun story to boot make this one a delight for all. Even those not too interested in the usual martial arts films will rub their eyes in disbelief after seeing this one. I guarantee a good time. It is definitely among the top three movies I've seen so far this year, and I can't wait to see it again. So hustle on down to the theater and get your Fu on!

Film homages I picked up on in "Kung Fu Hustle:"
The Matrix
The Shining
Any Looney Tunes show
Singin' in the Rain
60's & 70's Kung Fu pictures
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
A Fistful of Dollars
Kill Bill

IMDb profile - full cast and crew
Official Site