Kung Fu Hustle

Bomb Rating: 

"Kung Fu Hustle" sucked more than "Shaolin Soccer." I think this is because director and star Stephen Chow is trying to top himself and instead of worrying about writing a sensible story, he's worried about how many bizarre sequences he can jam into any given section of the film. He's like a kid rolling fruit into a busy highway.

Chow plays Sing and ought to be the center of the film since he's the hero, but Sing doesn't really enter the picture until well into the movie, aside from a few, brief sequences. Instead, Chow focuses on the conflict between the Axe gang, led by Brother Sum (Kwok Kuen Chan), and a poor province that contains a variety of martial arts experts.

Basically, Chow keeps raising the bar. First, three of the province's residents defeat most of the Axe gang, so Brother Sum hires the second best assassins in all the land, who then defeat the three heroes. However, the second best assassins are then defeated, leading Brother Sum to hire the best assassin, The Beast (Siu Lung Leung), eventually leading to a showdown with Sing. Sing seems like just some bumbling idiot through most of the film, but it's completely obvious that he's going to emerge as the hero.

There's some really insulting stuff in this movie, particularly the way the movie berates homosexuals, falling into a stereotypical pattern of critique that would better befit a child. Then there's the weird thing where many of the men show significant amounts of crack, and I'm not talking about the drug. For whatever reason, a lot of them have their pants pulled halfway down. Perhaps this is a cultural thing and I just don't get it, but I don't really care.

This film's problems are not unlike "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (also opening this week - and obviously those of you reading this during opening week know this, but five years from now somebody will be reading this wondering why in the world I'm comparing the two films, so fuck off). Both movies try to sustain a certain level of humor and action, but there's simply no variation. There's no subtlety. There's virtually no arc to the story and no feeling to the film. It's like going to the amusement park and getting stuck on the Tilt-a-Whirl when you really want to be on the roller coaster.

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