Po Chu Chui

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Kung Fu Hustle Review


Excellent
Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer was a unique genre potpourri in which sports films, The Matrix, and science fiction animés all irreverently coalesced into a frantically funny tale of victorious underdogs. The filmmaker's signature cartoon craziness - an idiosyncratic mixture of Buster Keaton's physical comedy and Dragonball Z's lunatic action - likewise permeates Kung Fu Hustle, a similarly ridiculous medley of gangster pictures, musicals, and martial arts films. A period piece about a 1940s-era Shanghai village forced to defend itself from the oppressive mobster outfit, The Axe Gang, Chow's latest is not quite as infectiously hilarious as its predecessor. Yet this tour de force compensates for a shortage of belly laughs with an astute portrait of mid-20th century social inequality, as well as an exuberant momentum, its kinetic slapstick amplifying with each subsequent fight scene until, with its building-smashing finale, it reaches a crescendo of absurd insanity that would make even Jackie Chan gasp.

Kung Fu Hustle (written by Chow, Tsang Kan Cheong, Xin Huo, and Chan Man Keung) follows despondent wannabe gangsters Sing (Chow) and Brother Sum (Kwok Kuen Chan) - two inept bunglers with dreams of criminal fame and fortune - as their attempts to impress the Axe Gang bring chaos to the working-class town of Pig Sty. There, a screaming landlady (Qiu Yuen) and her licentious husband (Wah Yuen) maintain order and obedience with an iron fist. However, after the arrival of the Axe Gang - a group of suit-wearing toughs whose leader (Hsiao Liang) likes to orchestrate choreographed line dances after killing his adversaries - the town's landlords, as well as three seemingly ordinary men, reveal themselves to be superpowered kung fu masters. What ensues is inventive, frenzied combat of the fantastical variety, highlighted by a Wachowski-esque battle involving innumerable (and identical looking) Axe Gang members swarming Pig Sty's enclosed courtyard for a chance to vanquish the unretired martial arts heroes. Throughout such visually hectic set pieces, Chow's direction proves a model of efficiency, presenting every special effects-enhanced roundhouse kick, aerial jump and flaming fireball with a lucidity that allows for spatial coherence. Assured and exhilarating, the filmmaker's dynamic staging and blocking allows him to stretch the boundaries of his confiding frame, culminating in a high-flying, earth-shattering climax that virtually leaps off the screen.

Continue reading: Kung Fu Hustle Review

So Close Review


Very Good
They're beautiful sisters. They're high-heeled hackers. They're ruthless assassins. What more do you need to know? In So Close, Lynn (Qi Shu) and Sue (Vicki Zhao) kick serious ass all over Hong Kong while the equally gorgeous (though somewhat mannish) cop Hong (Karen Mok) tries to track them down before they strike again. Whether they're bringing down a global network of banking computers, shooting two dozen black-suited security goons, or poisoning a corrupt CEO with a pair of cyanide-emitting sunglasses, Lynn and Sue are big trouble. Either one of them could easily dispatch all three of Charlie's Angels before breakfast.

Artfully orchestrating the action is legendary Hong Kong director Cory Yuen, who shows no signs of tiring with this, his 34th directing job in 21 years (in addition to his 32 gigs as an action choreographer). Yuen, whose credits include most of Jet Li's best films, including High Risk and The Enforcer, has more recently entertained Western audiences with The Transporter (also starring Qi Shu). A genius in his cinematic genre, Yuen knows how to make screen action look fantastic, with just the right pacing and skillful editing. His films are visual feasts, even if the plots sometimes fall by the wayside.

Continue reading: So Close Review

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Po Chu Chui Movies

Kung Fu Hustle Movie Review

Kung Fu Hustle Movie Review

Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer was a unique genre potpourri in which sports films, The Matrix,...

So Close Movie Review

So Close Movie Review

They're beautiful sisters. They're high-heeled hackers. They're ruthless assassins. What more do you need to...

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