Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2005-09-14
Summary: A new high for Stephen Chow...
Kung Fu Hustle is an absolute gem of a movie from the cinematic genius of Stephen Chow. Sing (Chow) and his friend (Lam Tze Chung) decide they can take advantage of the small town folks of Pig Sty Alley by pretending they are members of the feared Axe Gang. Unfortunately, the real gang shows up and much to their surprise are thoroughly whipped by three martial arts masters (Dung Chi Wa, Chu Chi Ling and Xing Yu) who have been living incognito within the community for years. Blaming Sing and his friend for their demise, the Axe Gang threatens to kill them, but instead allow Sing into the gang in order to use him for his lock picking skills. In the meantime, they send two blind Zheng (Chinese lap harp) players to kill the three masters, but again are thwarted when Pig Sty Alley's landlord and landlady (Yuen Wah and Kan Chia Fong) reveal themselves to be masters as well. Not to be beaten, they manage, with Sing's help, to break the #1 assassin (Bruce Leung Siu Lung) out of a psychiatry ward and set him on the two remaining masters. During the battle, Sing comes to realize his true nature and unleashes his skills on the gang and their cohorts.

Although this sounds like a serious movie, it is honestly one of the best combinations of comedy and action I've seen in years. Chow has absolutely perfect comic timing with whoever he shares a scene with and his co-stars handle their roles perfectly. In addition, the action scenes are some of the most exhilarating filmed, especially the one with the Lap Harp assassins. Yuen Wo Ping once again confirms his place as the most innovative and skilled of the choreographers working today. The finale of Sing realizing his potential and his battle with the Beast is everything it should be, with inventive martial arts styles and excellent use of seamless CGI. Chow even manages to evoke a bit of a tear-jerk ending to top it all off. In my opinion, Kung Fu Hustle represents a new pinnacle for Chow in his directorial and acting career.

Reviewer Score: 10