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Kung Fu Hustle

The ever-shifting genre of martial arts films takes on yet another variation with writer/director/actor Stephen Chow's CGI spectacle- infused comic Kung Fu adventure. Set in an impoverished area of '30s pre-Revolutionary China known as Pig Sty Alley, the movie follows an upstart extortionist Sing (Chow) attempting to pass himself off as a member of a notorious mob group called the Axe Gang in order to steal money from the area's destitute residents. But Sing bites off more than he can chew when the innocuous tenants display their polished fighting skills that inadvertently attract the real Axe Gang that arrive to quash the rebellion. The movie reaches a zenith of cartoonish spectacle when the Axe Gang employs the assistance of a bullfrog-morphing Kung Fu master, known as The Beast (Leung Siu-lung), from a local mental institution. After Stephen Chow's considerable success with "Shaolin Soccer" the actor-turned-director is quickly sharpening his gloriously idiosyncratic brand of martial arts comedy films. Special features include Chinese and English language with English and French subtitles, deleted scenes, outtakes & bloopers, director and cast audio commentary, behind-the-scenes featurette, Stephen Chow interview and a poster gallery. Aspect ratio is 2.40:1, with sound quality processed in Dolby Digital. (Movie - Four Stars, DVD features - Three Stars) Rated R, 100 mins. (Sony)

September 25, 2005 | Permalink