Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

kung fu hustle poster 2004 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Bizarre, fun, over-the-top ride!

Have to accept the world as reality which not everyone can do

Movie Info

Movie Name: Kung Fu Hustle

Studio:  Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia

Genre(s): Martial Arts/Action/Adventure/Comedy

Release Date(s):  September 14, 2004 (Toronto International Film Festival)/December 23, 2004 (China)/April 22, 2005 (US)

MPAA Rating: R

kung fu hustle axe gang dance

Who can stop the army of evil axes?

When Sing (Stephen Chow) and Bone (Lam Chi-chung) pose as members of the Axe Gang, they accidentally bring hell upon the low-rent apartment building known as Pigsty Alley.  Three Kung Fu masters known as Coolie (Xing Yu), Tailor (Chiu Chi-ling), and Donut (Dong Zhihua) enrage the wrath of Brother Sum (Danny Chan Kwok-kwan) who leads the Axe Gang.  Brother Sum wants revenge and he’s willing to pay for it regardless if the Landlady (Yuen Qiu) and her battered husband (Yuen Wah) are having none of it.  It could be Sing’s chance…but the danger of the Beast (Bruce Leung Siu-lung) is lurking.

kung fu hustle stephen chow landlady qiu yeun looney toons

Road Runner!

Directed by Stephen Chow who also help produce the film and write the film (with Huo Xin, Chan Man-keung, and Tsang Kan-cheung), Kung Fu Hustle is an action-adventure comedy fantasy.  The movie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and received wide praise.  The film was given a large release and became a massive international hit.

I can remember seeing the trailers for Kung Fu Hustle and knowing I had to see it.  Watching it in the theater, you knew you were watching something different and special.  You can watch Kung Fu Hustle and see where it evolved from and what evolved from it…it still remains an interesting film.

kung fu hustle landlady landlord vs beast qiu yeun siu lung leung wah yeun

Unlikely heroes…unlikely villain

The movie’s storyline combines so many genres.  You have the surreal, the martial arts, intense action, and even dance.  It is woven together in a manner that works and excels.  Plot feels completely original while managing to feel familiar at the same time.  The story rocks and rolls through the course of the movie and ends in a satisfying conclusion.

While Stephen Chow was a big factor in his previous movie Shaolin Soccer, Chow like the bookends to a bigger story.  Much of the cast did appear in Shaolin Soccer and it is interesting to watch the two films back-to-back for that reason.  While Yeun Qiu is the obvious scene stealer as the Landlady, everyone nails the scenes they are in from the Kung Fu Masters, to the villainous Danny Chan Kwok-kwan, and Bruce Leung Siu-lung.  It is a great ensemble cast.

kung fu hustle stephen chow eagle jump

Any movie that can mix in a man jumping off a soaring eagle’s back gets my thumb’s up!

The visuals aide the story.  From the Bollywood-esque dance scene at the beginning of the film to homages to Looney Tunes, The Shining, Spider-Man, and even Forrest Gump, the movie jumps all over the place, but it does feel a bit more controlled (if that is possible in a movie where people can run like Road Runner) than Shaolin Soccer.  You can see how it benefited from movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but it also feels completely original.

Kung Fu Hustle is a great and different film.  It isn’t for everyone and you really have to get the humor and style of the film to enjoy it…but if you do, it can easily win you over.  The movie received a 3D release in 2014 and there have always been rumors of a sequel…but just enjoy the dance for now.

Related Links:

Shaolin Soccer (2001)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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