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Going to the Source: Kung Fu Hustle and Its Cinematic Roots at the 29th HKIFF
Do The Hustle 1/1 - Page 8
Info
Author(s) : Gina Marchetti
Date : 5/5/2005
Type(s) : Analysis
Food for thought
 
 Intext Links  
People :
Stephen Chow Sing Chi
Kwan Tak Hing
Bruce Lee
Yuen Woo Ping
Movies :
Kung Fu Hustle
Lexic :
Jiang Hu
Wong Fei-hong
 
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Page 7 : Bruce Lee Returns
 
 Notes  
Special thanks to the 29th Hong Kong International Film Festival PR office and the Hong-Kong film Archive.


For Kung Fu Hustle, however, legitimacy does not come from the arts themselves, but from conjuring up past films about Chinese martial arts, citing earlier images created by Kwan Tak Hing and Bruce Lee, casting martial arts “has beens,” and relishing the “hustle” as much as the “kung fu” involved. Although the Beast kneels as Sing's feet and the hero gets the girl, the film ends with the “hustle” that embroiled Sing in the “jiang hu” in the first place. The same disheveled beggar that sold Sing an overpriced Buddha's Palm kung fu manual has his eye on another kid, who is destined to “save the world” through martial arts, by buying his collection of manuals. Given the care Stephen Chow and Yuen Woo Ping took in finding martial artists and Chinese opera practitioners to convincingly recreate the kung fu choreography of an earlier generation, it seems that the “hustle” of CGI may not completely belie the “kung fu” at Kung Fu Hustle's source. The beggar turned out to be right in Sing's case, so who is to say that Chow and Yuen cannot trace their cinematic lineage back to Wong Fei-hong/Kwan Tak-Hing? The 29 th Hong Kong International Film Festival provided a wonderful opportunity to contemplate this question by screening Kung Fu Hustle in the context of Chinese films past and present.

notes

For more on Kung Fu Hustle's debt to Hong Kong film history, see Ross Chen, “The Six Degrees of Stephen Chow and Kung Fu Hustle

For reviews of the film, see Dave Thomas, “THE STORY OF WONG FEI-HUNG: PART I,” Steamed Prawn Buns ( February 19, 2004 );
Yves Gendron, “The True Story of Wong Fei-Hung: Whiplash Snuffs the Candle Flame,”

I am basing this account not on the film, but on the history I've pieced together from Internet sites, including : “Hong Gar Bible" ; "Hung Kuen Net" ; and the "European Hung Gar Association",
Since the names of the Hung Gar ancestors are Romanized differently, I am including some of the more frequent spellings of the Chinese here.

Po Fung, “A Hero Reinvented: Wong Fei-Hung's Cinematic Odyssey,” The Hong Kong-Guangdong Film Connection, ed. Wong Ain-ling (Hong Kong : Hong Kong Film Archive, 2005), p. 252. (248-260)

Information on the casting of Kung Fu Hustle is taken from the film's Web site

 
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