For five years, film critic Scott Tobias compiled "The New Cult Canon" in a regular column for The A.V. Club…
Kung Fu Hustle
From walking disaster to kung fu master.
In Shanghai, China in the 1940s, a wannabe gangster aspires to join the notorious "Axe Gang" while residents of a housing complex exhibit extraordinary powers in defending their turf.
No more soccer!
I had the misfortune of not having a single good movie in the last 8 films I watched so I needed palate cleanser. Something guaranteed to bring me viewing pleasure and bring me joy for roughly 2 hours. Enter Kung Fu Hustle.
What other film can you watch that will spoof a Road Runner cartoon and pay homage to Way of the Dragon moments later? The same film that will have two characters in a death scene quote lines from Spider-Man, Casablanca, Gone with the Wind and The Untouchables all in the same exchange. It's like a pop culture martial arts party.
If that sounds a little crazy, then you get a good idea about what kind of martial arts is in the film as well. It crosses the line of reality and doesn't care. It's all the better for it.
I'm just happy from beginning to end when I watch this.
PTAbro's World Tour Stop 19: China
Fun, frantic, and funny, Kung Fu Hustle is an odd beast - reveling in its own goofiness, yet somehow supremely earnest, Stephen Chow obviously knows his cinema (the shot of Sing and Fong mirroring Astaire and Rogers was sublime), and works to throw everything together into a convincing narrative; Tex Avery cartoons and Bruce Lee exploitationers are just some of the genres skewered in Chow's tornado of referential machismo. Slapstick, verbal barbs, and absurdism add to the light-hearted humor of the piece.
Unfortunately, not all the jokes stick. Chow himself does a fine job playing semi-foil to the anarchy around him, but he's a much better action star than a comedian. And while I…
What a delightfully zany action film this turned out to be! I recall reading that it was partially a comedy, but absolutely nothing could have prepared me for this. What I got was a hilarious cocaine-induced Kung fu action film that kept me on the edge of my seat frand m start to finish.
A neighborhood is consistently under attack from a Chinese gang, but they have their own protection- most of the locals are super-enhanced fighters who are specially trained in martial arts, prepared for any fight. A Shanghai local named Sing dreams of joining the notorious "Axe Gang," but he inadvertently initiates a turf war between the local residents and the gang members, resulting in some of the…
Kung Fu Hustle is a really fun martial arts movie by director Stephen Chow, who also directed Shaolin Soccer, another really good movie. This movie has many funny scenes, many great, over-the-top action scenes and it looks gorgeous. Also, the music is really nice. And it has a good plot, unlike some other action movies (John Wick, The Raid 1). Recommended!
a student is on one side of a raging river. there are no bridges. he has no boat. he shouts out to the master on the opposite bank. “How do I get to the other side?” the master shouts back: “You are on the other side.”
"Why do they always want to do it the hard way?" -- Wile E. Coyote
I hadn't seen this since it was released a decade ago, but it strikes me that in all that time since Marvel has released like 30 superhero movies and not a one of them is half as entertaining, imaginative and profound as this. And it runs only 99 minutes.
Things I learned on rewatching:
1. Lam Suet! Lam Suet is in this!
2. The landlord and landlady (types in homage to Chor Yuen's The House of 72 Tenants, a non-action movie that was Hong Kong's biggest hit of 1973, topping even the mighty Bruce Lee) are played by Yuen Wah and Yuen Qiu. Yuen Wah, of course, is a longtime stuntman and actor (you can see him as the villain…
Simply a damn good time.
At times as viewer we come across a film that merely asks the viewer to sit back and be entertained. Fortunately for the viewer, such is very much the case here.
Silly as fuck at times, and yet I'll be damned if I didn't have fun with this. The story and characters don't particularly matter here. This is a film that basks in complete and utter absurdity, and merely asks the viewer to follow suit. Outside of the blatant silliness, one can also find some damn cool kung fu sequences.
Simply put.......got kung fu'ed as fuck last night, and enjoyed it.
The cgi in this has not aged well at all but goodness I still love it.
I've seen it so many times and it's my go-to fun time film!
Sing (Stephen Chow) is a wannabe gangster who acts tougher than he really is. When he finally gets a chance to prove himself tough enough to join the notorious "Axe Gang" he stands face to face with a powerful landlady, whose tenants are defending their apartment complex against the Axe Gang's advances. They put up such a fight that Brother Sum - the boss - finally resorts to summoning a legendary fighter; The Beast.
(Snappily dressed criminals dancing with axes? Yes please)
One of my personal favorites - Stephen Chow stars and directs this hilarious kung fu epic in the best way imaginable.
Definition of silly in English:
adjective (sillier, silliest)
1. Having or showing a lack of common sense or judgement; absurd and foolish
noun (plural sillies)
2. A foolish person (often used as a form of address)
3. Kung Fu Hustle
Give me the cartoonish slapstick of this any day over a film like The Raid. Chow is an intelligent film-maker who knows how to make entertainment. It's good to see the FX still hold up too.
We watched Shaolin Soccer a few months ago and I quite enjoyed it, so when this came up when flipping through Netflix, we decided to go for it (Jon had seen it before and loved it). Pretty sure I liked it even more - without having to try to work in the soccer angle, its narrative is a lot cleaner and more coherent, letting the cartoony action and humor carry the day, and carry the day it was.
Favorite moment - the landlady hitting the billboard. I definitely laughed out loud.
Here's how it entered my Flickchart:
Kung Fu Hustle > Road to Rio
Kung Fu Hustle < The Fall
Kung Fu Hustle > The Hunger Games
Kung Fu Hustle > Monsoon Wedding
Over the top, cartoony, and mildly corny yet engrossing, entertaining, and very fun.
It's like a Chinese Monty Python.
Combined the average ratings (Critic's & Users) from IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic and Letterboxd, and then weighted and tweaked the results…
I don't usually post others' best-of/essential film compilations, since there are too many of them to keep track of, but…