In Pig Sty, There’s More Than Meets The Eye

The movie centers on a hero named Sing (Stephen Chow), who doesn’t have much of fighting skills considering this is a martial arts movie. He’s not even on the good side. He realized early in life that bad guys have all the fun. And who can blame him? The gangsters of Axe Gang, in slick 1940s suits, are seen strut dancing in the opening scene after a merciless killing. I tell you it’s like these men channeled Michael Madsen’s character in “Reservoir Dogs.”

One day Sing, along with his husky sidekick, marches into Pig Sty Alley and pretend to be a member of the feared Axe Gang. What he finds out is that this poor community is rich in the kicking ass department. Pig Sty is ruled by a Landlady, played by Yuen Qin with hilarious and stereotypical qualities. The cigarette on her lips and the curlers on her hair are permanent accessories to complement her sour face. Her super power is her loud shrieking voice, which has the obliterating force of a tornado. Other notable residents are the unbreakable Landlord, the barber who can’t pull up his pants, a man with superb kicks, a punchy tailor, and a “fairy” who can do damage with his long stick. When the real Axe Gang arrives in Pig Sty, a showdown leaves the gangsters broken. This leads to Axe Gang’s recruitments of the best fighters on the land to defeat Pig Sty.

“Kung Fu Hustle” starts as a fresh of breath of air but ends a bit out of breath. I don’t mean this necessarily as bad. The exhaustion results not from running out of ideas. Rather, it’s from a series of inventive but increasingly outrageous fight sequences. The last fight is way way way over-the-top (up to heights even eagles dare to fly), but it’s part of the fun. You have to give it to Stephen Chow, the man behind “Kung Fu Hustle.” He knows how to entertain and does it well. The movie is packaged with overflowing humor and even a sweet-tooth of a romance. There’s even a bonus delight for movie lovers out there because Chow winks at a lot of famous movies. I’d leave for you to find them out. My favorite is an unmistakable Kubrick signature from “The Shining.”

Grade: B+