|Blogs > rad_vlad > Fly or Die|
I attended a school that specialized in mass media communication, aptly titled "Communication Arts". It was a magnet school in San Antonio. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of a magnet school, it's basically a small school that specializes in something (media studies, health, business) attached to a much larger school. Larger schools like to have magnet schools because magnet schools tend to have higher standardized test scores, and magnet schools like to have larger schools because larger schools have things like athletic programs and debate teams. It's win-win.
So I attended Comm Arts for four years in lieu of a normal high school education, and one of the things we focused on was film. I spent two semesters in a film class, looking at films, taking them part, learning what makes the good ones good and the bad ones bad. It gave me a much deeper appreciation for film as an art form, but it also left me incapable of simply watching movies. When I go to the movies, I tend to go alone, because I don't just watch movies, I judge them.
My buddy N called me yesterday afternoon. Normally I would have been pissed because I was trying to sleep away a hangover from the previous night out, but I like N and he has good intentions, so I let it slide. (Note: I went and saw British Sea Power Saturday night at Emo's. Emo's is nothing special. Ten bucks to get in, tattooed hipsters abound, every drink is ridiculously overpriced, and the place pretty much looks like a clone of the White Rabbit in San Antonio or a couple of clubs I can't remember in Deep Ellum in Dallas. But British Sea Power is special. They rock. Hard. Go pick up their albums and support them when they come to your town.) So N calls me round 3:40 and asks if I want to go see Kung Fu Hustle. I've wanted to see this film for a bit, but something had always gotten in the way: a spurs game, a paper, blah blah blah.
I roll out of bed and crawl into a pair of clothes I left lying on the ground from a few a day ago, jump into Racanante and pick up N. We drive to the Dobie theater on campus, conversing all the way. N was my roommate in my freshman year of college. We had wildly different schedules, him being a night person and me being an early morning type of person. We didn't really bond until I got to my junior year and started to loosen up a bit. I wouldn't say we're friends, but we're somewhere beyond the level of acquaintances.
Traffic on 35 north wasn't nearly as bad as it could have been, considering that a storm system had passed through in the morning and had left the streets wet. I hate driving, which is odd because I drive so recklessly. I swerve in and out of lanes, I like to go at least ten miles above the speed limit, and I pull in front of people at every opporunity. Which isn't to say I'm a bad driver. In reality, I'm probably the best driver I know. I'm just really aggressive and intense; it's part of my personality.
When we get to Dobie, N finds out that, like I had warned, the tickets were going to be 6 bucks, which is bullshit for a matinee showing. The only reason Dobie gets away with charging prices like that is because they're one of the only theaters in town that show "art" cinema, and their on campus, which makes them the only convenient location for all the on-campus kids who don't have cars. We pay our six bucks apiece, me supressing my natural Jew urges to say fuck this and run to the Metropolitan. We arrive in time for the previews, which is bad in this case because I have to sit through three bad previews and one good one. (Note: has the gay community given up on making good films? I saw a preview for a movie whose title I can't remember, but it looks like utter garbage. The plot involves two roommates, one gay and one straight. The straight one decides to pretend to be gay because women seem to be attracted to homos. The gay one helps the straight one act gay because he wants the roommate of the girl the straight guy is trying to seduce. Sound stupid yet? You haven't seen the trailer. I sat through two and a half minutes of it, and I could feel myself becoming dumber. Really, I felt as though I was slipping into a coma, except I still had the misfortune of being totally aware of my surroundings.)
Now, on to Kung Fu Hustle. Like I said earlier, I don't just watch movies, I judge them, and because of this, I tend to have very discriminating tastes about what I watch. That being said, sometimes I just like to be entertained, and if the goal of a movie is to simply entertain, then Kung Fu Hustle is arguably one of the greatest films ever. Right up there with Commando.
To begin with, the film is over the top. And I mean that in a good way. The writer-director, Stephen Chow, who previously made Shaolin Soccer, basically tried to make a live-action cartoon, and to accomplish that, he pulled out all the stops. In a chase scene between Sing and the Landlady, the two characters run at insanely fast speeds, to the point where their legs blur and they run past cars. In this movie, people don't just get hit; they get hit so hard that they fly back twenty feet in the air and land on a group of ten other guys.
Additionally, the film makes excellent use of CG. I don't mean that the CG effects were inconspicuous. They weren't; in fact, I could tell pretty easily which effects were CG because they look so fake. No, what made these effects good was the fact that, considering the comic tone of the film, the effects were made to fit the film. In this type of movie, effects that looked real would have been the wrong way to go. Effects that look obviously fake were the perfect move.
I could describe the plot, but why bother? Let's just say that the movie is two hours worth of insanely good kung fu motherfuckers beating each other. Did I mention that at one point, I guy is kicked so high he inadvertently steps on an eagle and then meets the Lord Buddha? If that doesn't sound like entertainment, I don't know what is. So, if you're looking for a fun way to waste a couple of hours, go see Kung Fu Hustle.