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Gong Fu

Kung Fu Hustle

Hong Kong/China 2004
produced by
Stephen Chow, Chui Po Chu, Jeffrey Lau, Han San Ping, Wang Zhong Lei for Star Overseas/Columbia, Huayi Brothers, Taihe Film Investment, Beijing Film Studio
directed by Stephen Chow
starring Stephen Chow, Lam Chi Chung, Chan Kwok Kuen, Leung Siu Lung, Dong Zhi Hua, Ling Chiu Chi, Yu Xing, Yuen Qiu, Yuen Wah, Huang Shengyi, Feng Xiaogang, Liang Hsiao
written by Stephen Chow, Tsang Kan Cheong, Lola Huo, Chan Man Keung, action direction by Yuen Woo-Ping, additional action choreography by Sammo Hung, music by Raymond Wong

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Sing (Stephen Chow) & his sidekick (Lam Chi Chung) want to be mean gangswters of the almighty Axe Gang, so they try to extort money from the tenants of the Pigsty apaprtment building ... but soon find themselves not half as mean as the tenants of the appartment building ... & what's more, they somehow drag the real Axe Gang into the conflict.

The Axe Gang, who wanted to go down heavily on the Pigsty tenants, soon find themselves no match against the building's 3 martial arts masters (Hua Dong Zhi, Ling Chiu Chi, Yu Xing), which seriously undermines their reputation as the city's toughest gang.

So, while Sing & sidekick still try to prove themselves mean but ultimately only hurt themselves doing it, the Axe Gang's leader Brother Sum (Chan Kwok Kuen) tries to do the only sensible thing to keep face ... hire the musicians, 2 blind master killers, who know some martial arts that enable them to create deadly soundwaves wtih the help of their zither.

Eventually, they manage to kill all three masters, but prove to be no match against the martial arts of the building's landlord (Yuen Wah) & landlady (Yuen Qiu) (who has perfected the Lion Roar, meaning she can literally shout people down) ... the musician leave in a panic.

But in all the world, there is only one killer meaner than the musicions, the Beast (Leung Siu Lung), but he is locked up in an asylum ... so brother Sum remembers the incompetent Sing again & tells him to free Beast - as he figures there's not much lost should Sing get kiled doing the job ... but against all expectatins, Sing succeeds - even if Beast seems to be in a lamentable state. However, when he goes one-on-one (well, one-on-two) with the landlord & the landlady, he proves to be their superior ... only when Sing accidently interferes in their favour can the 2 escape, & after Sing is beaten pretty much to a pulp by Beast, they even save his life.

Soon, Sing's grave injuries are healed, & it dawns on the landlord & landlady that Sing must have the Chi powers of a great Kung Fu master, but his talent has lain dormant until he was beaten up by Beast ... & now the ultimate fighter inside Sing has hatched ...

Soon it's the final duel between Beast & Sing, where the 2 hit each other with pretty much everything but the kitchen sink, but in the end, Sing flies to heaven (really), & returns to earth using the Buddhist Fist (quite fitting, since he did see Buddha in heaven, sitting on a cloud [really]). In the end, Beast cowers in front of Sing, begging him to teach him ...


From this synopsis, Kung Fu Hustle might lsound like another martial arts comedy like so many others, which is essentially true too, but first & foremost the film is a triumph of imaginative use of special effects. & it's not even that the effects would go to any new heights, technically speaking, it's just that they are used to create new, unusual plot elements rather than show off the capacities of the computers involved in creating them. & as these effects are used as narrative elements in many sequences, they promptly make one forget the story's minor inconsistencies or somewhat weak plotline.

But be warned, if you are a firm believer in the law of gravity, you might hate this movie.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD