"Kung Fu Hustle"

Clearly going through a bit of a martial arts phase at the moment – what with Hero last week, Kung Fu Hustle today, and Flying Daggers on the way too! Still, gotta love them.

So Kung Fu Hustle… bit of an odd film, to be honest. A strange combination of cartoon violence and real blood, although very much at the cartoon end of the spectrum. Definitely corners on rails as far as the plot goes, but then I guess this film was never really going to be about the story.

A good friend saw it first, and was mildly disappointed – in a way I’m glad as this lowered my expectation enough to take this film as it came, rather than hoping for great things. It suffers a little from “the best bits are in the trailer”, but it must be said that I thought this version of “lots of men in suits attacking a single man” left poor Neo very sadly wanting. Come to that, the slow-mo bullet-time type stuff was very nicely done as well. In fact, the special effects were fab, and there were quite a lot of genuinely funny parts, although almost entirely shadenfreud.

It also wasn’t quite as zany as I had hoped – the trailers give the impression that people periodically break into choreographed routines in a faintly Northern Exposure style sureality, but sadly not.

On balance I’d have to give this a high score. Glad it’s in my collection, as it would definitely survive another viewing. I guess the director’s commentary would be worth catching too. Don’t expect anything particularly original, or to be challenged by plot – and enjoy the action.

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