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Kung Fu Hustle: Axe Kickin' Edition (2004)

Sony

Cast: Stephen Chow and a cast of thousands.

Rating: R.

Run time: 100 mins.

Genre: Action.

Verdict: Brilliant (see rating system)

I'm not a huge fan of Kung Fu movies, but this is the exception that proves the rule: always check out films that create a buzz.

And Kung Fu Hustle certainly created some buzz when it hit theatres 2004. Director/actor and co-writer Stephen Chow virtually reinvented the Kung Fu genre, blending impressive fight scenes with Looney Toons-type cartoon action, knockabout comedy and even a touch of pathos.

The result is totally fresh and often exhilarating.

Chow plays Sing, an inept small-time crook who's been getting his ass kicked ever since he was a small boy trying to help a little girl being picked on by neighbourhood toughs. Tired of being a loser no one respects, Sing wants to join the notorious Axe Gang, who run all the rackets and eliminate anyone who stands in their way - including the cops.

But when Sing tries to throw his weight around in a slum, he inadvertently sets up a battle between the Axe Gang and the slum dwellers. It seems like no contest, but The gang soon finds out it's bitten off a bit too much.

Sing is recruited to help the gang get its revenge via an assortment of hired killers, but it isn't long before his conscience starts bothering him and he lashes out at the gang master. You guessed it - he gets his ass kicked again.

Sing's rebirth as a master of virtue - and Kung Fu master - makes for a great story.

Fantastic action scenes, laugh-out-loud comedy. a great sound-effects track and loads of extras make this a movie you'll want to see time and again.

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