Okay, okay, okay… I’ve finally "Kung Fu Hustle"-d.

I saw.

I was amused.

I left.

I’m sure this will be Top Ten material for big kung fu fans. For me, it was an amusing live-action Loony Toons episode, but an hour later I was already thinking about totally different things, and I feel no desire to see it again. It was fun. It was very well made. The effects were hilarious and at times really amazing. The characters were a hoot. But like most kung fu films, I enjoyed it the way I enjoy a good sports event. Entertaining, but the purpose is not to give us something to think about. So as glad as I am that some of you encouraged me to see it, sorry, but I don’t think I’ll be reviewing it. What would I say? “It looked cool. It was fun. Great stunts.”

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  • Anonymous

    I don’t know if I was one of those folks who compelled you to see it or not, since I had written in prior comments boxes that it was at the top of my personal list.

    To get me to laugh uproariously is one of the hardest things to do. This film did that in spades. That it was done with a creative storyline, one that borrowed and skewered different films in such a creative manner is spellbinding. Surely what sealed it for me was a small, off-the-cuff reference to one of Kubrick’s most indelible images, and I was sold.

    Personally, the film does make a big statement, but not in its story, but in the diverse films it reference and skewers. Here is a movie in love with movies. Here is a movie that loves every nuance and style of so many different films. That is its point.

    It is so much harder to get an audience to laugh, than it is to get them to cry. Comedy and action is the least recognized genres by most influential critics. But certainly films like _Raiders of the Lost Ark_ are going to last forever, as they have influenced countless generations of aspiring filmmakers, perhaps moreso than the heavy drama message movies today. Even I struggled between whether the phenomenal “Magnolia” was better than the equally phenomenal “Run Lola Run” (at half the running time). That I chose RLR as my fave film of 1999 had simply to do with the one question: which film would I watch again and again.

  • jasdye

    Jeffrey,

    Gotcha. Actually, I re-read your post. It didn’t strike me that same on my second go-round. Sorry to misinterpret you. Don’t think there would be much to say.

  • Jeffrey Overstreet

    Jason,

    I don’t believe I said anything derogatory about sports. I don’t believe I said anything derogatory about Kung Fu Hustle.

    The film did not disappoint me. I didn’t go in with grand expectations. I went in for a good kung fu movie and I got one.

    It is entertainment. I love entertainment, especially when it’s done well, like “Kung Fu Hustle.” Just as I love watching basketball when it’s played well.

    All I meant to say was that, while it’s in the personal-favorites-lists of some people I know, it’s not going to be one of *my* personal favorites, because it doesn’t *mean* anything to me. That’s all.

    I *prefer* entertainment that gives me a little food for thought, but I never *expect* that from a kung fu film. So I have no complaints about this one.

    I’d give it a B+, because it’s very well made and Chow excels within the parameters he set for himself. But I can’t think of a darn thing to say about it beyond praising its modest entertainment value… so that’s why I’m not going to review it. I write reviews when I feel like I have something I’m dying to share or ask or challenge in a work. If I don’t have anything much to say about it, then I’m just wasting other people’s time.

    So forgive me if my blog post felt like a condemnation. It wasn’t meant that way at all.

  • Peter T Chattaway

    FWIW, Jeff, your description matches my own memory of my own experience watching the film.

  • jasdye

    and you were expecting…?

    Jeffrey, sometimes mindless entertainment is just mindless entertainment and should be taken as such. I don’t think it should be derided on those terms.

    And although I’m no critic, by a long shot, surely a movie like ‘Kung Fu Hustle’ (which is at the top of the game as entertainment, mindless or not) has more redeeming value than a flop of modest proportions, say, ‘The Interpretor.’

    And, again, your refusal to enjoy sports on their own level is duly noted, but I believe you are missing out on an entire world of action there, brother. Consider, for example, that Jesus was noted as growing in wisdom, reputation and stature (mind, social interaction, and body).


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