04/21/2015  
Always Woodstock on DVD Apr 28The Strain: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray & DVD Jun 9A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night on Blu-ray & DVD Apr 21Science Fiction Theatre: The Complete Series on DVD May 12Rogue: Complete Second Season on DVD May 19That Man from Rio (1964) & Up to His Ears (1965) on Blu-ray & DVD Apr 4Masterpiece Mystery: Grantchester on Blu-ray & DVD Apr 7

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Always Woodstock on DVD Apr 28...
Rita Wilson diagnosed with breast cancer ...
Suzanne Somers on elimination from 'Dancing With The St...
The Strain: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray & DVD ...
20 of the Most Hated Women in Hollywood...
DWTS' Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Meryl Davis: Reunited and...
Barry Manilow Marries Manager Garry Kief ...
Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Falchuk Were the Stars of Robe...
A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night on Blu-ray & DVD Apr 2...
James Best dies at 88; actor played sheriff in 'Dukes o...



Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Sony Picture Classics presents
Kung Fu Hustle (2005)

"In the world of kung fu, speed defines the winner."
- The Beast (Hsiao Liang)

Review By: Dan Heaton  
Published: August 09, 2005

Stars: Stephen Chow, Yuen Qiu, Leung Siu Lung, Chan Kwok Kwan
Other Stars: Dong Zhi Hua, Chiu Chi Ling, Huang Sheng Yi, Lam Tze Chung
Director: Stephen Chow

MPAA Rating: R for sequences of strong stylized action and violence
Run Time: 01h:38m:49s
Release Date: August 09, 2005
UPC: 043396108820
Genre: martial arts


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A B+AA- A-

DVD Review

"In a time of social unrest and disorder the gangs run amuck. The most feared of them is the Axe Gang. Only in the poorest districts, which hold no interest for the gangs, can people live in peace."

This brief introduction provides the setting for the nearly constant action of Kung Fu Hustle, but it rarely scratches the surface of the film's over-the-top contents. The story takes place in 1940s Shanghai, a city ruled by the lawlessness of the well-dressed Axe Gang. Their leader is Brother Sum (Chan Kwok Kwan)—a vicious dancing dude who has no qualms about shooting a woman when her back is turned. His gang's attire is the sharp suits prevalent in Golden-Age gangster cinema, and it is easy to recognize them from a significant distance. Unfortunately, the Axe Gang is very large, so escaping from their clutches is another matter. A showdown between this nasty bunch and heroic kung fu masters would seem to present enough plot for an entire film. Instead, this short description only scratches the surface of the high-flying battles depicted.

Director and star Stephen Chow scored big in Hong Kong with 2001's Shaolin Soccer, which faced severe cuts from Miramax prior to its U.S. theatrical release. Thankfully, this energetic picture avoided that fate and appeared with only a few minor cuts needed to receive an R rating. Yes, there is extreme violence in this picture, but most of it falls into the cartoon variety, with characters surviving brutal attacks and bouncing all over the screen due to impressive wire work. One particularly amazing sequence pays homage to “The Burly Brawl” from The Matrix Reloaded and outdoes its predecessor by including more stunts and less recognizable digital effects. Throughout the story, unique characters of every type enter the mix and display original talents. One group of killers generates damage from their apparently harmless musical instruments, while another figure can stop the path of an approaching bullet. The result is an almost-constant display of acrobatic moves, tough attacks, and enjoyable sight gags that hardly desists throughout the 100-minute running time.

The basic story involves the residents of a slum named Pig Sty Alley that has a surprising number of kung fu masters living within its walls. Their lack of funds keeps the Axe Gang away from their homes, but events quickly change thanks to the bumbling efforts of the petty thief Sing (Stephen Chow) and his portly buddy (Lam Tze Chung). Posing as members of the gang but really running a small-time con game, they manage to draw out Pig Sty's talented warriors. These events set the stage for endless chaotic sequences involving numerous stunts and digital effects. Chow makes few attempts to develop a realistic story, which should please genre fanatics but alienate others. His influences depicted on screen range among Warner Brothers' Looney Tunes, the gangster films of Hollywood's early days, and modern over-the-top action films.

Successful recent martial arts films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and House of Flying Daggers have taken a serious approach and depicted emotional tales of love and honor. Kung Fu Hustle veers in a much different comedic direction and provides some cheap laughs at the expense of its characters. They fall off ledges, take beatings from nerdy kids on the bus, have potted plants smashed on their heads, and face other silly indignities. However, an underlying message does exist concerning the great possibilities within everyone. The Axe Gang fighters are actually pretty weak once they battle the true kung fu masters, who are not the typically super-athletic types. Although this idea is suppressed between the constant silliness, it does bring a refreshing human side that combines effectively with the otherworldly elements.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio2.40:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: Kung Fu Hustle's ambitious and colorful set design springs wonderfully from this 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. While the numerous characters battle in all types of settings, the picture offers a minimal amount of grain or defects. The images are especially bright and attractive, which helps to sell Stephen Chow's impressive direction and leads to a topnotch presentation.

Image Transfer Grade: A

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
English, Chineseyes


Audio Transfer Review: This disc utilizes a powerful 5.1-channel Dolby Digital track that allows the various levels of destruction to appear believable on the screen. While debris flies in every direction, the audio flows throughout the sound field and helps to generate an immersive experience. Viewers may choose between the original Chinese language track and a dubbed English version for those who avoid subtitles.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
10 Other Trailer(s) featuring Layer Cake, 2046, November, 3-Iron, House of Flying Daggers, Lords of Dogtown, XXX: State of the Union, Stripes, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Mirror Mask
15 TV Spots/Teasers
2 Deleted Scenes
1 Documentaries
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Stephen Chow, Lam Tze Chung, Tin Kai Man, and Chan Kwok Kwun
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Ric Meyers Interview with Stephen Chow
  2. Outtakes/Bloopers
  3. Poster Gallery
Extras Review: Kung Fu Hustle offers an attractive collection of extra features that gives some worthy insights into the filming process. Director Stephen Chow joins several actors for an enjoyable scene-specific commentary that discusses each fight in entertaining fashion. The track is recorded in Chinese and presented with subtitles, so viewing this feature does require a bit more attention. The other major feature is the 41-minute television special Behind the Scenes of Kung Fu Hustle, hosted in silly fashion by actors Lam Tze Chung and Chan Kwuk Kwan. This promotional documentary covers each aspect of the production, spending considerable time describing each character. The piece also covers the story creation, martial arts choreography, music, production design, and visual effects.

Another worthwhile extra is the 28-minute interview with Chow by Asian film expert Ric Meyers. Speaking in English, Chow quickly discusses his background, but most of the conversation focuses on the specific aspects of the production. He speaks well and appears to enjoy speaking about a wide range of elements, including the casting, music, and story decisions. The two deleted scenes are much less exciting, as they simply present alternate versions of moments that do appear in the original film. Each scene runs for about two minutes and provides little new material.

The remaining supplements include five minutes of outtakes and bloopers, 15 television spots, 11 preview trailers, and an international poster exploration gallery. The bloopers consist mainly of the actors cracking up while trying to complete lines, but they also include a few mistakes with the complex wire work. The TV spots are mostly 30 seconds and appear with an attractive widescreen format. Another impressive aspect is the large collection of trailers, which include such recent successful martial arts pictures as House of Flying Daggers and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon along with new films like November.

Extras Grade: A-

 

Final Comments

Stephen Chow's Kung Fu Hustle takes the martial arts genre to new heights of both action and silliness. He deftly combines the violent battles with gags and crafts a highly entertaining movie. This impressive DVD is poised to become a major home-video hit, especially among genre devotees.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

drama, celebrity, rita wilson, tom hanks, fish in the dark, larry david, television, abc, dancing with the stars, suzanne somers, tony dovolani, suzanne sizzles, horror, movies, angelina jolie, gwyneth paltrow, leann rimes, katherine heigl, jennifer lopez, photos, sway: a dance trilogy, maksim chmerkovskiy, meryl davis, music, barry manilow, gary kief, married, copacabana, brad falchuck, robert downey jr., glee, chris martin, jennifer lawrence, james best, died, sheriff rosco p. coltrane, the twilight zone, andy griffith show, gunsmoke, dukes of hazzard, big bang theory, christine baranski, laurie metcalf, sci-fi, kim kardashian north west, keeping up with the kardashians, kanye west, joni mitchell, morgellons, joni mitchell: in her own words, mary leitao, comedy, cynthia lennon, john lennon, cancer, julian lennon, paul mccartney, ringo starr, movie, furious 7, paul walker, james wan, universal pictures, mystery, rolling stones, 15-city tour, keith richards, mick jagger, ronnie wood, charlie watts, san diego, cable, comedy channel, daily show, jon stewart, trevor noag, musical, one direction, zayn malik quits, 2015 lollapalooza, florence and the machine, sam smith, metallica, charlotte mckinney, keo motsepe, redfoo, rumer willis, valchmerkovskiy, action, the walking dead, noah, aiden, deanna, father gabriel, rick, carol

On Kindle!
On Facbook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store