A movie that you have to see to believe, "Kung Fu Hustle" is a hilarious live-action cartoon filled with Looney Tune antics, kung fu fighting and a whole bunch of ridiculous stuff that makes it one of the funniest movies of the year.
An import from China, "Kung Fu Hustle" is one of those rare subtitled movies that received a wide release in the United States. I don't know how but I do know why - it is well worth every penny. Of course, if it hasn't made it to a theater near you - or more likely it has already passed you by - you can get it on Asian DVD for pretty cheap.
The movie is about a small community set in 1940's Shanghai, where seedy gangsters are fighting for their claim to territory. Unfortunately for them, this specific community is housing several kung fu masters who have all kinds of amazing skills and powers - but the gangsters have their own tricks up their sleeves. Hilarity ensues not from the plot itself but from the crazy antics that director Stephen Chow has thrown into every scene. Again, you have to see it to believe it.
"Kung Fu Hustle" honestly is a cartoon acted by real actors. In one scene Chow spoofs the Roadrunner cartoon by having two of the characters chase each other Coyote style, until one flies through the air and slams headfirst into a billboard.
Chow, who directed the funny and equally goofy - and ultimately overrated - "Shaolin Soccer," has come into his prime here, starring, directing and writing what will undoubtedly be the best film of his career. Once again, you have to see it to believe it.
"Kung Fu Hustle" is highly recommended to anyone who wants to laugh their socks off.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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