My Rating: 9/10
Rotten Tomatometer: 90% Certified Fresh
PLOT: In Shanghai, China in the 1940s, a wannabe gangster (Stephen Chow) aspires to join the notorious “Axe Gang” while residents of a housing complex exhibit extraordinary powers in defending their turf.
WHY IT’S HERE:
I can’t put it any better than Roger Ebert, who wrote, after watching this movie at the Sundance Film Festival, that it was “like Jackie Chan and Buster Keaton meet Quentin Tarantino and Bugs Bunny.” “Kung Fu Hustle” takes director/star Stephen Chow’s comic, reality-bending physics from his previous hit, “Shaolin Soccer”, and cranks them up to 11. People don’t just chase each other, their feet move in a blur like the Road Runner as they leave rooster-tails of dust behind them. Fighters don’t just throw punches, they can crack a pool table in half just by punching the AIR. When one unlucky fellow gets bitten in the lips by two cobras (don’t ask), his lips don’t just swell up, they…well, see for yourself. Plus, what other kung fu comedy have YOU ever seen that manages to throw in shout-outs to The Shining, The Untouchables, and The Matrix? I have no proof of this, but I imagine director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) watched this movie, and if it didn’t at least partially inspire the concept for “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World”, I’d be very surprised. The word “unique” was invented for this movie.
(And, oh yes, the fight scenes are actually pretty intense when they’re not making you laugh.)