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Movie-kinetics genius. Kung Fu Hustle
takes the gleeful mayhem of Hong Kong action movies, the deadpan physical humor of silent comedies, and the sheer elasticity of Wile E. Coyote cartoons and fuses them into a spectacle that is simple in its joys and mind-boggling in its orchestration. A run-down slum has been poor but peaceful until a bunch of black-suited gangsters called the Axe Gang show up to cause trouble--and discover that, hidden among the humble poor, are three kung fu masters trying to live an ordinary life. But after these martial artists repulse the gang with their flying fists and feet, the gang leader hires a pair of assassins, whose arrival leads to the unveiling of more secrets, until both the screen and the audience are dizzy with hyperbolic fight artistry (choreographed by Yuen Wo Ping, who also choreographed The Matrix
). Weaving through this escalating fury is a loudmouthed loser (writer/director/actor Stephen Chow) who suddenly finds himself having to live up to his bragging. Kung Fu Hustle
more than lives up to the promise of Chow's previous film, Shaolin Soccer
--it's a movie made by an imagination unfettered by the laws of physics. Hugely entertaining. --Bret Fetzer