In an August 2010 interview with GQ magazine, Bill Murray praised Kung Fu Hustle, saying it is "the supreme achievement of the modern age in terms of comedy" and that "there should have been a day of mourning for American comedy the day that movie came out".
Bruce Lee Tribute: When the Landlady is seated between the Boss and his assistant, she faces the boss, and mimics the gestures Bruce Lee used while also facing a crime boss in Return of the Dragon. She wags her finger at him, then closes both fists, then just the right (while knuckles cracking can be heard), she jerks her head up, and the boss nods he understands, then she thumbs her nose, exactly like Bruce Lee.
Three scenes are not directed by Stephen Chow. The fight that reveals the three Pig Stye Masters is directed by Sammo Kam-Bo Hung. The "Burly Brawl" parody, where the One fights the thousand men in black suits, and the fight in the night, where the three masters face the two musicians, were directed by Woo-Ping Yuen.
The name "Pig Sty Alley" is a play on the Chinese name for the Walled City of Kowloon. It was a Chinese exclave in Hong Kong, and for much of the 20th century it was well-known as a breeding ground of crime, slums, and disorder. It was torn down in 1993.
The Landlord and Landlady announce to the Beast that their names are "Yang Guo" and "The Little Dragon Maiden" in the original Chinese, which is a joke nod to Louis Cha's famous novel "Return of the Condor Heroes", adapted many times for television and film. Unlike the Landlord, the original Yang Guo was a handsome youth, and unlike the Landlady, the original "Little Dragon Maiden" was a beautiful young woman.
Most of the names of the superpowers in the film are taken from the pulp novels of Louis Cha, a household name in Hong Kong, often compared to Alexandre Dumas père and credited with the invention of modern martial arts swashbucklers.
The literal translation of the name of "The Beast" is "Dark God of the Fire Clouds". The name was first used by the writer Liu Can Yang in his novels in the 1950s and 60s, and his character was originally his protagonist's mentor. The menacing sound of the name, and comparatively lax copyright laws in Hong Kong, have led to the name appearing in many other films, novels, and comics.
The axe gang resembles a similar gang that appeared in The Legend of Drunken Master (1994), although in that film the axe gang played a minor role. Both gangs feature similar clothing, weapons, and tendencies to fight in large numbers.
This is the meaning of what the "mute" girl signs:"Do you remember me? Long ago, you helped me. I do remember you.". The gloss would be "YOU REMEMBER I? PASTx2 YOU HELP-TO-ME. I YOU REMEMBERx3". To fully grasp the meaning, notice:a) She repeats PAST, so the past time was not recent.b) She uses her facial expression to denote the question (she frowns slightly for a moment). c) HELP is signed pointing to her, to express she was the recipient of the help. d) Though the first REMEMBER is signed once, she remarks the final REMEMBER (I do remember...). As a little girl, she says "Thank you very much". You can see is Chinese sign language and not ASL: she moves the fist forward and bends her thumb.
The English dubbing and the English subtitles are almost entirely different scripts. While in some places the phrasing might just be turned around, in others whole lines have been rewritten with different jokes and references.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
When Sing goes to get The Beast out of prison, the sound of a frog croaking can be faintly heard in the pause between springing the lock and opening the door. This foreshadows the final battle between these two.