Saturday, 28 September 2013

Kung Fu Hustle (3½ Stars)


Two weeks ago I watched "Shaolin Soccer", a film written, produced and directed by Stephen Chow, who also played the leading role. That's why I bought "Kung Fu Hustle", also written, produced and directed by Stephen Chow and featuring him in the main role.

An unnamed city in 1940's China has been taken over by the Axe Gang, whose members all wear black suits and top hats and carry an axe. They ignore poor areas that would bring no advantage to them, such as Pig Sty Alley. Unknown to the gang a few retired martial arts masters are living here. After a third party provokes a fight between the gang and the alley's residents the Axe Gang decides to take over the alley. This leads to a minor war.

Whereas "Shaolin Soccer" is all about soccer, obviously, this film is a parody of the whole Hong Kong martial arts film genre. It has all the set pieces of the kung fu films of the 1960's to the 1990's, such as the fight scene between one man and dozens of opponents. It also has over the top mystical effects, where we see the magical powers of kung fu.

After watching it once I don't enjoy "Kung Fu Hustle" as much as "Shaolin Soccer". Some of the mystical fight scenes were just too extreme for me to accept, even as a parody. Nevertheless, I'll give it another chance. I'll probably watch it again next year.

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