I had the chance to catch KUNG FU HUSTLE (2004) on Netflix, and rediscovered how crazy fun this movie is.
Crowded with poor people oppressed by a playboy landlord and violent landlady, Pig Sty Alley is one of the few places in a Chinese city the gangs haven’t dominated, it not being worth their time. When Sing and his pal Bone try to scam the residents into believing they’re members of the Axe Gang, the real gangsters show up. What they don’t know is among Pig Sty’s residents are legendary retired kung fu masters, who decided to defend their turf. The result is an escalating war in which Sing must choose a side.
Sing is an intriguing character. As a child, he believed he would become a force of good, only to see it blow up in his face. Disillusioned, not realizing that he actually had done good, he embarks on a life of petty crime and aspires to be one of the bad guys, seeing this as the only way to get ahead in life. What he doesn’t realize is that this self-image is the only thing holding him back from greatness, as he may just be the One.
The action scenes are fantastic, with fights and chases that play out half as a high-speed kung fu combat and half as cartoonish, laugh-out-loud comedy. The landlady is hilarious. The result is a good story that has you rooting for the underdog and for Sing to find his way, while enjoying every minute of the comical, over-the-top kung fu battles and overturned stereotypes.