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Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Kung fu (original title)
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In Shanghai, China in the 1940s, a wannabe gangster aspires to join the notorious "Axe Gang" while residents of a housing complex exhibit extraordinary powers in defending their turf.

Director:

Stephen Chow

Writers:

Stephen Chow, Kan-Cheung Tsang (as Tsang Kan Cheong) | 2 more credits »
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1,938 ( 91)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 24 wins & 46 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Stephen Chow ... Sing
Xiaogang Feng ... Crocodile Gang Boss (as Feng Xiao Gang)
Wah Yuen ... Landlord
Zhihua Dong ... Donut (as Zhi Hua Dong)
Kwok-Kwan Chan ... Brother Sum (as Danny Chan)
Tze Chung Lam ... Bone (Sing's Sidekick) (as Lam Tze Chung)
Siu-Lung Leung ... The Beast
Qiu Yuen ... Landlady
Kai Man Tin ... Axe Gang Advisor
Kang Xi Jia Kang Xi Jia ... Harpist #1
Hark-On Fung ... Harpist #2
Shengyi Huang ... Fong
Suet Lam ... Axe Gang Vice General
Cheung-Yan Yuen ... Beggar (as Cheng Yan Yuen)
Chi Ling Chiu ... Tailor
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Storyline

Set in Canton, China in the 1940s, the story revolves in a town ruled by the Axe Gang, Sing who desperately wants to become a member. He stumbles into a slum ruled by eccentric landlords who turns out to be the greatest kung-fu masters in disguise. Sing's actions eventually cause the Axe Gang and the slumlords to engage in an explosive kung-fu battle. Only one side will win and only one hero will emerge as the greatest kung-fu master of all. Written by Anthony Pereyra {hypersonic91@yahoo.com}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

From walking disaster to kung fu master See more »

Genres:

Action | Comedy | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sequences of strong stylized action and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Hong Kong | China

Language:

Cantonese | Mandarin

Release Date:

22 April 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kung Fu Hustle See more »

Filming Locations:

China See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,188,968 (Hong Kong), 24 December 2004, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$269,225, 10 April 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$17,108,591

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$101,434,304
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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. See more »

Goofs

As the leader of the Crocodile Gang leaves the police station, his hat changes from a straw cowboy hat to a shapeless fabric hat, then back to a cowboy hat by the time he gets downstairs. See more »

Quotes

Landlord: [commenting on Sing's newfound abilities] If he studies hard, he could be a doctor or a lawyer.
Landlady: A stuntman, more likely.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Original Hong Kong release uses the regular Columbia Pictures logo at the beginning used in front of American films, yet the American release only has the Sony Pictures Classic logo on the bright blue background. See more »


Soundtracks

Fishermen's Song of the East China Sea
Composed by Ma Sheng Long / Gu Guan Ren
Courtesy of Naxos International (Far East) Ltd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Stephen Chow is truly a great director...
16 September 2004 | by peter_K_2001See all my reviews

Chaplin, Allen and now actor, writer, producer and director Stephen Chow can join the select few whose remarkable talent as a performer matches his ability behind the lens; Kung Fu Hustle proves it.

Chow is no stranger to direction. In 1994 Chow co-directed Love on Delivery and since then a number of other self starring projects and many of these projects are considered the best of his acting career. However his skills as a comedian - be it his brash physical comedy (Shaolin Soccer), his manical scenarios (Tricky Brains) or epic historical parodies (A Chinese Oddsey) - have never outshined his talents as a director. Kung Fu Hustle not only reminds us of Chow's terrific comedic timing, it introduces us to his stunning visual eye and exhilarating action direction.

More importantly this addition to Chow's superb filmography finally allows us a means of defining his technique. A master of blending both comedy and visceral action with artistic integrity and traditional melodrama. It has been awhile since a director has been able to take me from quite serious and intense graphic violence to over the top ridiculous spoofing. The contrast of atmosphere and mood throughout the film is incredible and even more incredible is Chow's ability to make it all work. When the scene is funny you appreciate the comedy, when it switches gears to action you are blown away by the terrific sequences, when it switches to melodrama you are on the edge of your seat awaiting character responses, and when they're all fused together you do exactly what Chow is hoping you'll do. You laugh.

So I liked the film, but what is the film exactly. Like most Stephen Chow films while the concept is simple to describe, the execution is far more complex. Kung Fu Hustle tells the story of Sing, a wannabe gangster attempting to join the famous Axe Gang (who during some of the early scenes seem to spoof Gangs of New York - look for a firework visual quote), a legion of black suits responsible for a series of gruesome murders and complete dominance over a 1940s Hong Kong. Sing's reasons for wanting to join the gang are simple: bad guys are cooler. His arrogance causes a war to break out between a poor housing complex that secretly holds a number hidden talents and the murderous axe gang. What starts as a relatively small skirmish (and I mean relatively) explodes into a war of Miike's "Dead or Alive" proportions.

The use of digital effects in this film are extreme. Chow having succumbed to the digital revolutions in Shaolin Soccer, manages once again to use his effects wisely. There are a terrific number of effects shots in this film far more then I've ever seen in a Hong Kong production (save maybe the terrible Wesley's Mysterious File) and while I am disappointed at the lack of practical effects the impressive quality of them more then makes up for it. This film simply does not look like a Hong Kong film. It rivals Hollywood features in every category (set, costumes cinematography), but amazingly enough the CGI is really good! You can notice most of the effects, but that doesn't matter because they are used for laughs and effectively so. Some of the effects not only will have you in stitches, but also in shock and awe at the sheer incredibility of some of the scenes. One scene that sticks out is a terrific spoof of the Road Runner. Its not hilarious, but also a visual feast.

The impressive action is thanks largely to the great choreography talent including both Sammo Hung and Yuen Wo Ping (each working on the film at spate occasions). Yuen Wo Ping manages to take a scene that appears to be rehash of the Burly Brawl (hundreds of suits against one guy) and manages to make it not only fresh, but a thousand times more exciting and intense. These fight sequences demand the attention of any cinephile who claims themselves a fan of marital art cinema. Wachowski's take not, this is how you direct Yuen Wo Ping to this artistic peak.

So everything seems great, right? This has to be Chow's best, right? Actually not everything works and is not at all Chow's best film. It is not his funniest film, but that is because it takes the risk of exploring the action genre. It also relies a bit too much on CGI, and while its use is effective, it can occasionally bring you out of the film. Compared to his other films this film ranks #1 for its visuals and action, but in terms of laughs and writing it cannot surpass the classics. That being said Kung Fu Hustle is absolute blast. See it if you can at the Toronto Film Festival, import it on DVD and catch in theaters when Sony Classics brings it here (in Febuary I believe). It is action comedy at its finest.

Three cheers for Chow Sing Chi!


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