March 25, 2005
I know I've been hating in my last few entries but I don't always hate, sometimes I...uh... masticate. Regulate? Figure skate? Conjugate, congregate, ovulate...?
Whatever - anyway, I saw the coolest movie last night, Diary! It was a special sneak preview of Stephen Chow's Kung-Fu Hustle on the Sony lot and boy, was it gooood.
First, let's forget about the fact that Stephen Chow is dreamy (so dreamy that I am working through all of his movies and currently, I'm in the dregs and yet I still don't care), that there is no "hustle" in the sense of a "hustler" or "the hustle" as in the dance, so I don't really know why they couldn't just go with the original Chinese name Kung-Fu because there IS plenty of that, and that it drags a little towards the end (whew, if that's not a run-on sentence, it should be. I'm not sure because I'm going to public school!).
Yeah, forget that stuff. Because if you don't, you'd miss quite possibly, the most funny, outrageous, absurd, insane, sweet...just plain fun movie you'll see this year.
Kung-Fu Hustle follows in the loose form of Chow's major works (King of Comedy, God of Cookery, or Shaolin Soccer) where a loser wishes to be something more, tries in vain to be that thing, and then finds his nobler self by being what he truly is, often times aided by Shaolin monks or Buddha (G.O.C. being the most notable exception where the journey is inverted).
Chow's social commentary hasn't changed much throughout the years: goodness and purity can only be found in poverty (where the downtrodden also must make and sell food), while fame and riches are pathways to corruption, however, this time out he's added more "American tasting" themes as seen in the recent hits, The Incredibles and Spiderman, and The Matrix from a few years back.
And his humor has certainly risen from the lowbrow to the middlebrow with no ill effect (the style is still Cantonese, it just doesn't have all of the dick jokes). For example, the liberal sprinklings of polk-gai (there is one moment, early on, where a character's delivery of polk-gai almost made me pee my pants) make up for that one moment in King of Comedy that made all of us feel dirty for laughing so goddamn hard.
If you happen to live in San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, or Chicago take this link and sign up for a free screening. Otherwise, if you live in LA and NY, you can pay to see it on 4/8. If you live anywhere else you gotta wait until 4/22 or even later if you're in the stix.