He stands tall, looking ready to kick your ass. But Hong Kong actor-director-writer-producer Stephen Chow (Shaolin Soccer) is also just as likely to dance a jig and make funny faces. He's a one-man comedy parade. In the seriously cuckoo Kung Fu Hustle, Chow knocks himself out to please and also to sneak in a little social satire. Set in China in the 1940s, the movie takes deft notice of how the poor are exploited in Pig Sty Alley. Chow as Sing, a wanna-be gangster who's willing to step on the underdog to impress the notorious Axe gang, whose members hack up a rival before doing a musical number in top hats and tails. You get the picture. And if you don't, join the hustle. Nothing is safe from Chow, who spoofs the CGI tricks of The Matrix, turns his characters into live-action cartoons and then, miraculously, makes it all ring true. Does the plot spin out of control? You bet. But dumb fun this smart is a gift.
From The Archives Issue 408: November 10, 1983