KUNG FU HUSTLE: DVD
In a Shanghai slum nicknamed Pig Sty Alley, residents and business owners cower in the presence of a cruel landlady (Yuen Qiu), but at least take comfort from the fact that their poverty-stricken neighbourhood is largely left alone by the city's criminal gangs. All that changes when the notorious Axe Gang muscles in and begins a war that looks to have only one possible outcome. At first, the locals' only hope appears to be Sing (Stephen Chow), a small-time operator whose impersonation of an Axe Gang member sparked the trouble. As the battle heats up, it seems many martial arts masters have been hiding in Pig Sty Alley and their re-emergence gives the downtrodden new hope in the turf war.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
High farce meets low blow in Stephen Chow's splashy and flashy follow up to Shaolin Soccer. With much higher stakes and a bigger SFX budget, Chow unleashes his bottomless pit of visual jokes amidst major action routines that are aided and expanded with the help of digital demonics.
The film is described as both a labour of love and the fulfilment of dreams since his childhood, when he became an avid Bruce Lee fan. There are plenty of 'homage points' reminding us of Bruce Lee, but Chow also pays homage to The Matrix and several other action flicks.
Characters are larger than life and in some cases so is the action, which combines many forms of known martial arts, as well as several jokey moves with names like Roaring Lion - the speciality of the Landlady, Yuen Qui, famous Hong Kong star of the 70s who was dragged out of retirement and gained 15 kilos in two months for the role.
Yuen Wah plays the Landlord and represents a direct connection to Bruce Lee; it was Yuen Wah who has appeared in dozens of Hong Kong films, who lost the crucial fight against Bruce Lee's character in The Chinse Connection.
The action plot is built into a slight romantic subplot, in which the young Sing comes upon a bunch of bullies trying to steal a little mute girl's lollipop. He tries to defend her but they overpower him and humiliate him, pissing on his prone body in the dust. Now a grown up ice cream stall operator, the mute girl recognises Sing but it's only at the end of the story he remembers - thanks to the lollipop she has kept in a box all these years. It's a cute softener, and gives our hero a suitable motivation to be a tough guy, as well as being a neat cinematic exit plan.
And there's more on the DVD with Stephen Chow's audio commentary, an interview, behind the scenes feature, deleted scenes, outtakes and bloopers.
Published December 15, 2005
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KUNG FU HUSTLE: DVD (MA)
CAST: Stephen Chow, Yuen Wah, Leung Siu Lung, Dong Zhi Hua, Chiu Chi Ling, Xing Yu, Chan Kwok Kwan, Yuen Qui, Lam Suet
PRODUCER: Stephen Chow, Chui Po Chu, Jeff Lau
DIRECTOR: Stephen Chow
SCRIPT: Stephen Chow, Tsang, Kan Cheong, Chan Man Keung, Lola Huo
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Poon Han Sang,
EDITOR: Angie Lam
MUSIC: Raymond Wong
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Oliver Wong
OTHER: Action choreography: Yuen Wo Ping
RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 11, 2005
PRESENTATION: Widescreen 2.40:1/enhanced for 16:9 tvs
SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary; deleted scenes; behind the scenes feature; interview with Stephen Chow; outtakes and bloopers; poster gallery; tv spots
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony Pictures Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: December 14, 2005
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.