Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Tuesday night at 8:30pm come by for the Singing in the Rain of Asian Comedy. When I caught this at the 2004 Toronto Film Festival, I remarked that it was one of the most flat out effortlessly enjoyable movie experiences i'd had in a while (probably since 2003's ONG BAK, which oddly enough debuted in North America theatrically last weekend). It is the Warner Brother's Looney Toons meets the Shaw Brother's kung-fu! Director/Star Stephen Chow has not had his films imported across the ocean to large audiences despite the fact that he constantly beats Jackie Chan and Jet Li at the chinese box office. His movies combine a chinese sense of humour (a strange blend of humilation and violence passed off as farce) with lots of mainstream eastern and western film references. His Shaolin Soccer is a near-masterpiece of madcap lunacy with state of the art special effects and a campy premise. Here Chow has upped the bar so high, I don't think he will ever top it. To give away the story is to destroy the many, many hilarious surprises that pile on top of each other. Suffice it to say that when the big city axe-gang (shades of Gangs of New York who do cheoreographed dance-numbers with their axes in 1940's shanghai gangster suits) moves in on pig-sty alley, the local landlady and residents aren't going to take it. There are kung fu masters popping out of the stonework everwhere you look and it all adds up to inspired lunacy.
If this film were made in America it would be something throwaway (pun intended) like Dodgeball : Light, parody-driven, fluffy entertainment. But, here, the asian flavouring gives this movie an edge in North America (who know's perhaps somebody in Hong Kong is writing a parallel review of a Ben Stiller movie using Kung Fu Hustle as a conterpoint example...on second thought, probalby not).
Anyway, no brain is required; just a willingness to be entertained by the giddy silliness of the whole affair.


Anonymous Erin said...

If you haven't seen Stephen Chow's God of Cookery, please do. It is the single funniest thing I have ever seen on film.

8:35 a.m.  

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