Kung Fu Hustle
Armed gangsters take a break from terrorizing the denizens of 1930s Shanghai for a little disco dancing. A foot chase is choreographed like a Road Runner cartoon. One man shoots a gun at his own head and catches the bullet between two fingers. A rotund landlady blows people across courtyards with a high-pitched wail. And gravity takes a backseat to levity. So it goes in Stephen Chow’s (Shaolin Soccer) dazzling, madcap homage to and spoof of martial-arts films of the 1960s and 1970s. Chow plays a petty criminal in 1930s Shanghai who tries to bully the impoverished inhabitants of Pigsty Alley by pretending to be a member of the infamous Axe Gang. He finds himself trapped between a karate chop and a flying sidekick when the real gang shows up, and several Pigsty denizens, in the film’s only wisp of a theme, turn out to have surprising pasts.