Kung Fu Hustle was by far the silliest Kung Fu movie I have ever seen. It was very much the insanity and slapstick humor of the Three Stooges, Buster Keaton, and all the Warner Brothers cartoons mixed in with Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Couching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and every anime, superhero and kung fu movie released recently. It was one overblown cliche after another and yet some how in the end I walked out of the theater smiling.
The movie worked because it didn’t take itself too seriously. You knew it to be true in the opening credits when you watched a bunch of kung fu mobsters all dressed in tuxedos with top hats doing the hustle all the while holding their weapon of choice-the axe. And when you saw the set, somewhere deep inside you knew, that it would be obliterated in the last half an hour of the film, and you could not wait too see how that would happen.
Going in I expected toilet humor-I thought it would like watching an Eddy Murphy/Kung Fu flick, and was pleasantly surprised. Yes, the characters were grotesque, over the top stereotypes, but in a way that made you really like them and think they were all insane at the same time. Despite that, once in while these caricatures would surprise you, and do something totally out of their character. These would have a hilarious explanation and be viewed as something totally ordinary that happens in the world of Kung Fu Hustle. So yes, there was a formulaic predictability in Kung Fu Hustle, but that didn’t ruin it. It made it more fun.
As a side note: What I really liked that was the violence was for the most part non-bloody, and cartoon like. After watching Kill Bill and Sin City-it was refreshing.
I am definitely not the demographic for this flick. So I’d have to admit that I didn’t find some of the jokes in this movie as funny, in fact there were times that I found myself wincing instead of laughing at some of the things I saw on the screen, but my male friends and the teens in the audience were falling off the chairs in tears with laughter.