Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Kung Fu Hustle 2!!!

Before Shaolin Soccer, I was never a big fan of Stephen Chow. After, I couldn't deny that he was a funny, funny man, and if given a decent budget he could really do something. Kung Fu Hustle confirmed that, and now there's going to be another one.

In the first, I only liked Chow's character so-so; it was really the Fated Lovers and the other masters in hiding that did it for me. When the masters fend off the gangsters in the first big fight scene, I must've been smiling the whole way through. When the Fated Lovers finally get together to confront The Beast... man, perfect. And of course there was plenty of funny slapstick comedy to go around.

But moreso than any other contemporary kung fu movie, Stephen Chow's, I think, actually deal with the topic of martial arts in contemporary society. In Soccer, he asks the question "What good are martial arts now?", and he answers it by showing, however fantastically, that martial arts skills are still relevant. Perhaps he's saying that kung fu is at least as relevant as any sport. It remembers the grandeur and the splendor and places it in a modern-day context. In that sense, it's not unlike Fables, where the old legends live again.

Hustle's world is like a period removed; contemporary but timeless. The value of kung fu is never questioned because the strong rule and the weak are bullied. Guns are used, but not as a first choice. Of course kung fu is valuable. The question then becomes a matter of philosophy and spirituality. Which kung fu also fills :)

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