Dirk was all over me last week, repeatedly urging me, in the strongest possible terms, to see Kung Fu Hustle. I finally got around to it on Saturday, and… well, he was right.
It seems, whether you look at blockbusters like Finding Nemo or more obscure films like Waking Life, that the trend is towards taking animation and making it look as realistic as possible, either in terms of texture and lighting, movement, or both.
Kung Fu Hustle turns that logic on its head — it’s a nominally live-action movie that feels like a cartoon. I realize that this might sound like damnation with faint praise, but the thing to realize is, it’s a very good cartoon, one that combines comedy and action in equal measure without ever forgetting its heart. It’s ultimately a story of redemption, if you want to look at it that way.
With ass-kickings. Lots of ass-kickings.
My charming companion for the evening was Celina; if there’s a better person to see a martial-arts movie with, I don’t know who it might be. (Getting to see her reaction to Steven Chow’s taking his shirt off was a little added bonus. She loves Jet Li, but she wishes he’d stop being so modest and bare his chest already. Maybe she’ll get her wish with the release of Unleashed, which looks promising in other ways, too. Bob Hoskins and Morgan Freeman? Yeah, I’d pay full price to see that team-up.)