With Kung Fu Hustle, Stephen Chow churns out yet another brilliant work with the fusion of martial arts, special effects, and his sense of humor. Chow not only directs, writes, and performs, but he also does whatever it takes to entertain us. So before entering the theater, leave your common sense at the door, and enjoy the show – remember to silence your cell phone too. My cell phone joke might not work, but Chow’s pop-culture references work like a charm, especially the Buddha’s Palm and the Roadrunner commercial. The hair on fire is not another stab at Michael Jackson, I hope.
Of course, Chow’s comedy plays an important role in the film, but the kung fu sequences are also gorgeously choreographed, thanks to Yuen Wo Ping whose works include Kill Bill, Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Despite the lack of blood spills all over the screen like Kill Bill, Kung Fu Hustle illustrates Chow’s violent and brutal comic style. If the fighting, the axing, the flying, the screaming, or nothing in the film is convincing, the little romance between the sweet but muted girl (Huang Sheng Yi) and Sing (Stephen Chow) might be.
The plot of Kung Fu Hustle might not be compelling, but it serves Chow well, and allows him to go nuts with other aspects. Sing started the trouble between the ruthless Axe Gang and poor group in the Pig Sty Alley. The Axe thugs are tough, but the kung fu fighters in Pig Sty are tougher. After losing the battle, the Axe gangleader seeks professional killers for revenge. The fighting scenes take off from there. In between the chaos, Chow cleverly sneaks in a few flashbacks for a romantic story, and some quiet moments from the beautiful Huang Sheng Yi.
Kung Fu Hustle is a type of film that can be enjoyed by paying attention to the aesthetic experience. Leave your personal judgment behind and just focus on the work of art itself. That way, you’ll get Chow’s jokes and appreciate the film more.