Interest in Eastern cinema has been on the rise ever since the popularity of Jackie Chan in the '90s. The unconventional martial arts magic of 1999's The Matrix played its part in rekindling interest, contributing to the success of Ang Lee's 2000 masterpiece Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. In recent years, critics and art house audiences have come away enthralled with the stunning visuals of both Hero and House of Flying Daggers, both from acclaimed Chinese director Yimou Zhang.

But whereas most of those films relied heavily on drama, romance, and epic scopes, Kung Fu Hustle fuses the kung fu action film with an altogether different genre: comedy. Even the film's original 2004 Hong Kong title, Gong Fu, sounds funny. However, Kung Fu Hustle doesn't really take the parody approach that you might expect. Rather, it pays admirable tribute to the genre while weaving comedy into it and telling a story.

Stephen Chow: Remember that name, because his fame will only increase for years to come. The 41-year-old actor and director is Hong Kong's No. 1 comedy star, credited for starting the Mo Lei Tau ("Nonsesne") comedy style of Chinese cinema. He's starred in more than 50 films, and directed 7 of his own. The critically acclaimed Shaolin Soccer (2001) was his first international success. A silly and spirited combo of loveable loser sports films and kung fu action, rent this one if you want a foretaste of Chow's unique style.

Kung Fu Hustle is set in pre-revolutionary China during the 1930s—a world that is in some ways surprisingly similar to Depression-era America. Organized crime rules the streets, with no gang more notorious than the Axe Gangsters, led by the ruthless Brother Sum. They wear black suits, they sport top hats, they ...

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Kung Fu Hustle
Our Rating
3 Stars - Good
Average Rating
 
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Mpaa Rating
R (for sequences of strong stylized action and violence)
Directed By
Stephen Chow
Run Time
1 hour 39 minutes
Cast
Stephen Chow, Xiaogang Feng, Wah Yuen, Zhihua Dong
Theatre Release
April 22, 2005 by Sony Pictures Classics
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