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Kung Fu Hustle

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Kung Fu Hustle (Hong Kong 2004)

Director: Stephen Chow Sing-Chi

Cast: Stephen Chow Sing-Chi, Eva Huang Shengyi, Yuen Wah, Yuen Qiu, Leung Siu-Lung

Action choreography: Yuen Woo-Ping, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo

Stephen Chows latest film might not be a masterpeace, but nevertheless it’s one of the funniest movies of the year. The film is set in the 1940’s Shanghai ruled by the feared Axe Gang. Chow plays Ah Sing, a wannabe gangster who wants to become a member of the gang. In order to do that he first needs to prove he’s up to the job.

The first big surprise comes right at the beginning. The opening scene is more violent than I was expecting from a comedy film. Kung Fu Hustle is mostly light hearted comedy but it features some physically and emotionally violent scenes. I found these scenes quite unnecessary for a film of this kind. Another problem is there are a couple of scenes that doesn’t really work. Also, at times Sing almost becomes a supporting character. Other character are good too, but Stephen Chow is so great in his role that the movie automatically loses some of it’s charm when he’s offscreen.

Those things are the pretty much the only flaws in this otherwise great movie. Kung Fu Hustle reminds a bit of Shaolin Soccer when it comes to special effects. I’m usually against cgi but Chow is taking it so over the top that one can’t help but to be entertained. Besides, those effects look a million times better and cooler that the ones in big Hollywood films. It’s really a miracle how they can do it with such a small budget (2.4 million US$). The whole movie has really cool visual look. The steets of 40’s Shanghai have never looked better.

Stephen Chow has managed to create some of the funniest scenes in recent memory. There’s a couple of cgi assisted scenes that easily top the ones seen in Shaolin Soccer in pure craziness. The film had Yuen Woo Ping and Sammo Hung as action choreographers, but I have a feeling that Chow himself is the man behind most of the ideas. Sammo and Yuen were probably there just to make his visions come true.

Worth mentioning is a minor sub plot about the relationship between Sing and a mute girl selling ice cream. The girls is played by Eva Shengyi Huang (her first film role), and she is fantastic. She (naturarry) doesn’t say a word during the movie but she totally impressed me, even though her role was short. I wish it was longer because you could build a movie on these two characters.



Columbia’s region 3 release is lacking extras but otherwise this is a top notch dvd. The picture quality is exellent and a DTS track is icluded. Subtitles are great, too. Several releases of this film exist but the dvd itself is the same in all releases. More info about the dvd’s in Stephen Chow topic (

I go with the rating and Eva Shengyi Huang [ that’s the correct version ]

i don’t go with funny…it had some good laughs, but it wasn’t funny the way i expected form stephen chow. some jokes were really lame, and some just got their giggle coz of the cartoonish pictures, the roadrunning - inspired chase between Chow and Kan Chia Fong at the beginning e.g.

and i had the feeling, the movie shouldn’t be so funny at all.

homage is paid to the Shaw Brothers movies and the Kung Fu Flick from the 70ies, mixed up with american cartoons and japanese mangas. the cgi is heavy, far more than in Shaolin Soccer, almost too overblown.

Action by Yuen Woo Ping [ Sammo Hung left early ] looks great, but i only really liked the short real bits of fighting, for example between Chow and Bruce Leung Siu Lung at the end. It’s 5 shots or so, then extremeness again.

and i liked the younger players also more, especially Danny Chan Kwok Kwan as Brother Sum and Xing Yu as fighting Coolie…

anyway, i enjoyed watching the movie, sometimes it was just too much.

Xing Yu:

Danny Chan Kwok Kwan: