Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
Directed by: Stephen Chow
Premise: In 1940s China, the Axe Gang tries to take over a small housing development defended by a group of superhuman kung fu masters.
What Works: The film is a lot of fun. It is a mix between the western, gangster films, traditional kung fu films, and Roadrunner cartoons. The combination actually works very well because it allows the filmmakers to present the audience with something they have not seen before, or at least have not seen in this way. The film’s familiar storyline is complemented by off the wall characters and a lot of over the top humor that is genuinely funny and not cynical.
What Doesn’t: Although it is fun, Kung Fu Hustle is not going to win any awards for its story. The narrative is a mix of kung fu action with familiar genre staples. The combination works well enough, but the film could have been so much more if it had a meaningful story.
Bottom Line: Kung Fu Hustle is a film for fans of adult cartoons and martial arts films. It is silly but makes for good fun.
Episode: #49 (April 24, 2005)