Kung Fu Hustle

Institute History

  • 2005 Sundance Film Festival


Actor Stephen Chow is one of Asia's biggest box office draws, and his capabilities behind the lens match his remarkable talent as a performer. As a director, he made a splash onto the American scene with Shaolin Soccer. Now, with his astounding and hilarious Kung Fu Hustle, Chow convincingly vies for the attention of martial arts aficionados everywhere as he delivers an entertaining package of comedy, melodrama, and high-octane kung fu fighting.

The story is set in 1940s Canton, China, and follows Sing (Chow), a wannabe gangster who has decided that bad guys are cooler. He desperately wants to join the infamous Axe Gang, a legion of black-suited murderers who dominate Hong Kong. One day Sing and his dorky cohort get ahead of themselves and recklessly pose as Axes while visiting a shabby housing project. Their string of mishaps draws the real Axes into a skirmish with the slipper-footed peasantry—who strangely enough also happen to be extremely well versed in the art of kung fu—and a veritable war breaks out in epic proportions.

With sweeping visual scope, Chow seamlessly integrates a perfectly timed comedic narrative with homages to old western showdowns, Roadrunner-style chase scenes, grand tuxedoed dance numbers, and massive Matrix-style digital effects and action sequences. Kung Fu Hustle is one ride that is as smart as it is exhilarating.

— Shari Frilot

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