Ever wondered about the meeting of a 30s Chicago Gangster Movie, and the over-the-top martial arts and visual comedy of ... oh, say, Ranma 1/2, or perhaps Volcano High?
Well, that's Kung Fu Hustle (aka Gong Fu).
It opens with the viscious Axe Gang concluding their take-over of the city, and then...
Well, let's just say that our, err, hero (Sing - Stephen Chow), is not very good at trying to join them.
He and his friend, played by Chi Chung Lam, try to move in on the poorest street in the city - the one that is so poor that the gang cannot be bothered with it. And pay. And pay, and then try to summon the gang to help them.
Things, of course go rapidly down hill from there.
You have the hidden masters, the wandering assassins, the lost student, and the unrepentant rogue master - even the evil matron! Just about every stereotype and archtype make an apperance at some point, and often are disposed of just as fast as they appear!
The movie does have a few slower moments, but, as far as I can determine, they exist solely to let you catch your breath for the next burst of insane action.
9/10 and a roller-coaster ride by the Marx Brothers on the Sid&Nancy scale.
I was a bit unprepared for the gritty gangster movie start of this film, but don't worry, if you're looking for a 5 (yes 5!) colour martial arts film where a funeral bell is used to stunning effect, where there could be a martial arts move called "Summon phantom zombie army!" and where a shadow on the wall says it all, you've come to the right place.
Oh, and don't forget the in jokes, taking shots at Spiderman, The Shining, The Untouchables, Casino, West Side Story, Road Runner Show... and all sorts. Very clever, fast and so full of secret masters of hidden techniques that you couldn't throw a brick without it being sliced, diced, sent into orbit and reassembled and fused back together with Chi energy before you could blink.
This is an Australian film! True!
9 out of 10 and Jacky Chan goes to Volcano High (Advanced Masterclass) on the Sid and Nancy scale.