While martial arts began a new wave in Chinese cinema, Stephen Chow and other directors were responsible for the creation of another subset of martial arts cinema, which included the vampire genre. Stephen Chow combined elements such as undead, Taoism, kung fu, as well as comedy into his movies, which helped create a comedy-horror feel that was distinct to Hong Kong. The beginning of martial arts movies has paved the future for both local and international directors. They started to learn and adopt martial arts to fulfill and satisfy their own demands, later the trend became a transnational market.
Different from traditional Chinese wuxia cinema, Chow's new kung fu movies help with reflecting the extent to force the of globalisation within the entertainment industry, which later influenced the local construction of self-identity.
Much of the criticism for the film was directed at its lack of character development and a coherent plot. Las Vegas Weekly, for instance, criticised the film for not having enough of a central protagonist and character depth. Criticism was also directed towards the film's cartoonish and childish humour. However, it was considered reasonable, as the Kung Fu Hustle production team chose to make the film's characters largely one-dimensional. In the movie, the directors "attempt(ed) to appeal to a transnational audience, affirms distinctly Western notions of Chinese that many earlier Kung Fu films set out to subvert." The Kung Fu Hustle team attempt to appeal to a more progressive generation throughout the history of Chinese cinema. Earlier in the kung fu film industry, it usually involved complex characters, and also tried to explore and expose constructs ranging from gender to race as well as to nation. One-dimension is the key feature of Kung Fu Hustle, as it is rooted in a filmic genre that connected with Hong Kong identity, but also represented the Western imagination of China's past and Kung Fu heroism.
The movie is centered in a Shanghai slum called Pig Sty Alley. It's ruled by a dumpy landlady (Yuen Qiu), who marches around in slippers and has one of those cartoon cigarettes that always stays in her mouth no matter what happens. Shanghai is terrorized by the Axe Gang, which mostly leaves Pig Sty Alley alone because the pickings are too slim. But when counterfeit gang members are confronted by neighborhood kung-fu fighters, the real gang moves in to take revenge. The Axe Gang doesn't exactly blend in: They all wear black suits and top hats, and carry axes. That'll make you stand out. I am reminded of Jack Lemmon's story about the time he saw Klaus Kinski buying a hatchet at Ace Hardware.
Chow not only stars and directs, but co-wrote and co-produced. We get the sense that his comedies are generated in the Buster Keaton spirit, with gags being worked out on the spot and everybody in orbit around the star, who is physically skilled, courageous and funny. Chow plays Sing, also the name of his character in "Shaolin Soccer" and at least six other movies. This time he's an imposter, pretending to be an Axe Gang member in order to run a shakedown racket in Pig Sty Alley. Imagine how inconvenient it is when the real Axe Gang shows up and he's in trouble with everyone. By the end of the movie, he's going one-and-one with The Beast (Leung Siu Lung), in a kung-fu extravaganza. The joke is that most of what Sing knows about kung fu he learned by reading a useless booklet sold to him by a con man when he was a child. 2b1af7f3a8