Its hard for a foreign film to do well in the United States market. First they have to get a distribution agreement from a domestic organization, then rely on that distributor to market their film in such a way that it attracts cinemas and audiences. Writer-director-actor Stephen Chow managed to get a US release trifecta with “Shaolin Soccer” (2002), “Kung Fu Hustle” (2004), and “CJ7” (2008). Of these, “Kung Fu Hustle” was perhaps the biggest success, playing in nearly 3,000 screens across the united states.
“Kung Fu Hustle” is a comedy, action movie, self reflection, and love story set in 1940s China. Chow delivers his message clearly and entertainingly, ensuring through his triple duties that focus is never lost. The cast is ever entertaining and believable, even in cartoon-like moments that pepper the film. The action is high-wire flying mixed with Bruce Lee inspired choreography. Of interest to American audiences are the references to a number of films including “Top Hat” (1935) and “The Shining” (1980) which add a deeper understanding to the feeling of a scene.
Whether you watch the dubbed or subtitled version, this film really demands your attention or you may lose your place. But stop and pay attention, you may just find yourself laughing and smiling at the realization that you’re not so different from Stephen Chow.