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Kung Fu Hustle (SE)
DVD disk
08.14.2007 By: Quigles
Kung Fu Hustle (SE) order
Director:
Stephen Chow

Actors:
Stephen Chow
Wah Yuen
Qiu Yuen

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
During a time where the notorious Axe Gang dominates all that stands in their way, a band of unsuspecting kung-fu masters take a stand to protect their town, Pig Stye Alley.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
My feelings towards KUNG FU HUSTLE haven't changed too much since I reviewed the original DVD, but featured on this new Axe-Kickin' Edition (anybody else getting annoyed with these titles? Whatever happened to just "Special Edition"?) is the original Hong Kong version of the film. The differences between this one and the U.S. release are cuts so minor, only extremely diehard fans will care. Almost all of the excised moments involve the removal of blood.

Here's a rundown of what's no longer been removed (featured in bold):
  1. After getting tossed out of a window by his wife, a flower pot lands of the landlord's head, causing a small pool of blood to form around him. The blood was digitally removed for the U.S. cut.
  2. When challenging the occupants of Pig Sty Alley to a fight, a female farmer socks Sing right in the chest. Sing spits up blood, which sprays on the female farmer. This blood was also digitally removed for the U.S. cut.
  3. The camera pans across Pig Sty Alley to briefly show a boy taking a dump into a piece of paper, whereas in the U.S. cut the feces was digitally removed.
  4. In the casino, Sing confronts the Beast and gets punched in the chest twice. During the second hit, Sing's head whips backwards, and he sprays blood all over the Beast's face in slow motion. The U.S. cut removed this part of the scene completely.
  5. Later in the casino scene, the Beast punches Sing's head right into the ground. A slow motion shot reveals the Beast's bloody fist emerging from the floor. This brief segment was cut out of the U.S. version of the film.
These restored bits certainly bring back a touch of humor that was missing from the U.S. version of the film, but trust me, they're not enough to warrant a double dip. Even the special features, while plentiful, leave something to be desired (read more about this in the Extras section). The only reason you should pick up this newly released special edition is if you don't yet own the actual film.

And if you haven't yet picked up KUNG FU HUSTLE, the question arises: Why the hell not? This is a movie that has something to offer just about anybody, whether you like slapstick comedies, martial arts epics, lampoons/parodies, or even superhero adventure stories. The storytelling can get a little awkward, but the madcap action sequences come so fast and furious, you're lot likely to care. And besides, for a feature-length spoof of Shaw Brothers-style chopsocky, its plot is a lot more cohesive than it probably should've been.
THE EXTRAS
Very annoyingly, all but one of the special features from the previous release are absent here. This is made even more irritating when you notice that the combined running time of the new featurettes is less than that of the original DVD's single behind-the-scenes TV special. Not to mention the commentary track's missing. Urgh.

Those annoyances aside, there's still some worthwhile material here (if just barely).

Stephen Chow Interview (2:48): Short and fairly lame interview, filmed specifically for Comedy Central. Look for the Ric Myers interview down below to find a more insightful discussion with director Stephen Chow.

Bloopers & Outtakes (2:49): These are not from the film itself, but rather the interview featured above. Surprisingly, they're actually pretty funny. I wouldn't really call them bloopers, since every bit seems to be staged, but they're worth watching to see Stephen Chow joking around.

Organized Chaos (9:34): Yuen Wo Ping and others talk about the fight choreography featured in the film, coupled with behind-the-scenes footage. Very cool. (And subtitled, just FYI.)

Bringing Down the House (7:06): This featurette takes a look at the film's elaborate production design. Also subtitled.

Dressed to Kill (5:42): A discussion about the costume design from KUNG FU HUSTLE, and how much effort went into making each character look the part. This too is subtitled.

Storyboard Comparison (2:16): By now you should know what this is, and you should also know if you care about it or not.

Ric Myers Interview with Stephen Chow (27:55): Ironically, the one extra with the most substance is also the one being ported over from the previous DVD release. (Not subtitled.)

Also included are a few Previews.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Got the original DVD? Stick to it. For those who haven't yet purchased the film, this Axe-Kickin' Edition is probably your best bet. It may only bring back one of the extras from the first release, but the inclusion of the unedited Hong Kong version of the film is easily the main attraction here. If you don't care about that, and your focus is just on the extras, then seek out the first DVD instead.
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