Sharpen your axes, because Kung Fu Hustle is the Greatest Movie EVER!
Click on the DVD cover or the title above to download our review of the film featuring Sean “Hollywood” Hunting.
Review in a Nutshell: A raucous, satirical celebration of martial arts films, Kung Fu Hustle is populated by an eccentric cast of unlikely heroes and villains. Stephen Chow’s film is at once funny, sentimental, and thrilling, with an excellent mix of wirework, CG, and physical skill in the fight scenes.
Looking forward to this review!
Louis Cha aka Jin Yong is basically the guy from which every cartoon, comicbook, TV drama, and movie you’ve ever seen described as “wuxia” is pulling from. Some of it’s been translated. I’ve read exactly none of it.
It’s now become the norm for movie trailers to show the very end of the film, and I get mad every single time to the point that I avoid movie trailers and TV spots now. It’s a minority viewpoint, since everyone else is rather quick to declare how little they’re concerned about that stuff. And yet, we can see the effect they have: they can make you go “well, I won’t bother watching this” for several years.
What interests me about Stephen Chow is that his career was dead, dead, D-E-A-D for the better part of the 1990s such that it wasn’t until the early 2000s with Shaolin Soccer and the usage of the CG effects that everyone noticed “hey wait a second, this guy rules.” I’m less concerned with the presence/lack of CG, wirework, stunt doubles etc in action movies than I am with whether or not I can actually SEE the damned fight happen.
Stil, it’s interesting that Shaolin Soccer was what made Stephen Chow finally hit it big, because I don’t feel like he’s a Donnie Yen type whose movies sucked until he got a good director/choreographer. No, his movies were always of pretty comparable quality throughout. Yet, one now-OOP Dragon Dynasty release of the Royal Tramp Collection aside, it’s not like the rest of his movies got released in the US after the popularity of this and Shaolin Soccer. Not even God of Cookery, as mentioned. All the Iron Chef geeks went in on that, as the kung-fu nerds said “oh hey, it’s the 18 Bronzemen.” I’m always hesitant to recommend God of Cookery because Stephen Chow is such a total jerk in it…but to be fair, Stephen Chow is ALWAYS playing a total jerk!
Almost all of Stephen Chow’s stuff is not on Netflix, and in 2013 “if it’s not on Netflix, it’s too much work to track down,” but if you want some of my picks for “awesomely dumb Stephen Chow comedy” as embodied by the knife scene in Kung Fu Hustle: From Beijing With Love, Tricky Brains (not the same as The Tricky Master), and Forbidden City Cop. Note: based on my expert and scholarly analysis, the absolute pinnacle of comedy in Asian film is seeing pretty women get punched in the face.
Yeah, but just about everyone in God of Cookery is a jerk. However, jerks or not, some really funny stuff happens in that film.
I’d like to watch God of Cookery again at some point. I remember seeing a super bad VCD copy of God of Cookery back in college, but I can’t remember anything from it besides Stephen Chow being a jerk and the ugliest love interest ever. Also, pig shit.
The majority of Chinese period films seem to take place during or after the Qing dynasty, for whatever reason. If people are cursing the Manchu and wearing topknots, it’s Qing; if there’s short hair and factories, it’s probably pre-WWII.
I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never seen KUNG FU HUSTLE – that’s clearly an oversight I must correct, soon!
I had to look up Coole when it was mentioned on the podcast, because I was curious of its origin. At first, I thought it was Cooley, as in Cooley High.
Coolie, as far as I found, was a term for a general laborer of Indian origin. It seems like it could be used as a demeaning term, but it doesn’t look like it’s meant to be racially charged.
I’m the only one I know that hates this thing. Thanks, Paul Chapman, (and Obama,) for reminding me that I am alone in the universe. See, that’s how bad this movie it, is gives me existential crises. There’s no main character. There just isn’t. It hops from one set of people to the next without giving you time to learn to care about any of them. Not that you would, because they’re all horribly unlikable. Just petty and rude and terrible to each other, and I guess that’s supposed to be funny, but it comes across wrong somehow. And I know I’m talking about characterization in a kung-fu film, but at least other kung-fu films keep it simple and flat enough (I’ll save you, uncle!) so that bad characterization is not in the way; it’s not obstructing my ability to enjoy the punching. It’s funny that you just reviewed a Silent Hill movie, because that’s what the Looney Toons stuff looked like to me. It took something human and made it wrong and disturbing. Maybe Silent Hill: Revelation 3D should have hired Stephen Chow.
Also, if you’re going to have a concept like the Axe Gang, you gotta have one of them be huge and have 2 big axes, or another one that throws a bunch of axes really fast, or one of them has two top hats so it’s like a double top hat, or SOMETHING. C’mon, this is basic miniboss logic, here. This is a critical omission.