Who hasn’t watched or heard of the movie Kung Fu Hustle? The movie broke all box office records in Asia and across the world and managed to become a phenomenon. This movie directed by Stephen Chow manages to combine martial arts, heartfelt romance and fantasy, all mixed into one enthralling package. This movie earned nomination for 16 Hong Kong Film Awards, of which it won 6. This award ceremony can be considered to be equivalent of Academy Awards. If you watched the movie and loved it, then here are some amazing facts about the movie which will leave you baffled.
The action sequences of the movie were choreographed by the legendary Yuen Woo-ping of The Matrix
Are you a fan of martial arts movies? If yes, then you would have certainly watched movies such as Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and The Matrix. Yuen Woo-Ping is a reputed martial arts choreographer as well as a film director. He supervised the action sequences of Kung Fu Hustle. Yuen Woo-Ping started off his career during 1978 with the movie Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow followed by The Drunken Master.In fact, he was responsible for launching Jackie Chan! He has worked with several prominent actors from the Chinese Film Industry and he’s considered to be a legend. He was hired by the Wachowski Brothers for The Matrix after his impeccable work in the movie the Fist of Legend.(1, 2)
Chow’s childhood memories inspired “Pig Sty Alley” design.
Pig Sty Alley has been portrayed as an impoverished place where one comes across retired Kung Fu masters who have taken up modest jobs in their lives. The alley was the prime location in the movie and Chow made it his first priority to design it. He stated in an interview that this alley was inspired by his childhood memories of crowded, slum neighborhoods of Hong Kong.(1, 2)
Chow spent a considerable amount of time working on the leader of the Axe gang.
The role of “Brother Sum” was portrayed by Danny Chan Kowk-Kwan who is not just a lead singer of a rock band and a dance choreographer but is also skilled at Jeet Kune Do, a martial art form. Bruce Lee is believed to have created Jeet Kune Do. Danny’s dancing skills prove beneficial when Chow was brainstorming ideas for creating a tough character as the leader of the Axe gang in the movie. Chow incorporated the dance sequence in the movie rather than making scenes depicting pure violence.(source)
Chow originally wanted the two assassins to fight with a shark in the movie!
Do you remember the scene in which the two assassins are seen playing a magical Guqin? This seven-stringed instrument was capable of launching invisible blades at the Pig Sty Alley. Originally Chow wanted to show the two assassins fighting a shark. This was not possible people the CGI said they couldn’t do it. Chow had no choice but to use a magical Guqin instead.(1, 2)
Stephen Chow is a trained Kung Fu practitioner.
Stephen is a great fan of Bruce Lee and learned martial arts by imitating him. He gives all the credit to Bruce Lee for inspiring him to be an actor as well as a martial arts practitioner. He did attend Kung Fu classes in school but couldn’t continue because of his financial situation. Instead, he watched the movies of Bruce and imitated his moves.(1, 2)
Yuen Qiu won the role of the landlady while she was watching her friend audition for a role in the movie.
Yuen Qiu was smoking a cigarette while watching her friend audition for a role in the movie. She had a sarcastic expression on her face and was offered the role of the Landlady despite not auditioning for it. Chow wanted his cast to be unusual and atypical. He took his time in auditioning the cast. Chow was inspired by the way Yuen Qiu managed to look snobbish and arrogant which he thought perfectly fit the character.(source)
Bruce Leung was Stephen’s childhood martial arts hero.
Bruce Leung portrayed the character of the Beast in the movie. Leung Siu-Lung assumed the stage name Bruce Leung following the death of the legendary Bruce Lee. Many Chinese filmmakers at that time tried to cast actors who could imitate Lee. Leung is often referred to as the Third Dragon after Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. He eventually retired and came back on screen fifteen years later with Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle.(source)
Chow was looking for an innocent looking girl for the role of Sing’s love interest. Ultimately Eva was picked from a pool of nearly 8,000 girls!
Eva Heung made her movie debut with Kung Fu Hustle. She was a TV actress before that and the movie became her debut. Eva was chosen from a pool of 8,000 girls for the character!(source)
The Landlord and Landlady’s cha-cha dance an ode to Bruce Lee.
The cha-cha dance was incorporated in the movie as a nod to Lee who won the cha-cha championship during the year 1958. This was not the only reference to Bruce Lee in the movie. The Landlady also mimics the gestures of Bruce Lee that he made in the movie Return of the Dragon. The Landlady wags her finger at the Axe gang leader then closes both her fists where you can hear her knuckles cracking. She then thumbs her nose imitating Bruce Lee.(source)
The name Pig Sty Alleyis a play in Chinese based on the Walled City of Kowloon.
The Walled City was actually a military fort. It became enclaved when China leased its territories during 1898 to Britain. When the Japanese occupied Hong Kong, the population of the city rose during 1990 dramatically. The city experienced drug abuse, gambling and high rates of prostitution. The government of Hong Kong then planned to demolish the enclave in 1987. (source)
The martial arts style that Sing learns in the movie as a child is a real Shaolin style of Kung Fu.
If you are a great fan of this movie, you must remember the last fight with Beast where Sing uses the Buddhist Palm. This leaves a hole in the building in the shape of a palm. In reality, the Buddhist Palm style delivers a powerful punch to the opponent utilizing the palm. This belongs to a relatively modern style of Kung Fu which is referred to as the Fut Gar Kuen. (1, 2)
Most of the names of the character in the movie have been taken from the novels of Louis Cha.
Louis Cha Leung-Yung is a popular Chinese novelist. He has written over 15 wuxia novels withover 100 million copies of his novels been sold worldwide. The names of the characters in Kung Fu Hustle are a comical reference to a popular novel by Louis, The Return of the Condor Heroes.(1, 2)
Kung Fu Hustle surpassed Shaolin Soccer by being the highest-grossing Hong Kong movie in North America.
Kung Fu Hustle became the highest grossing movie made in China during the year 2005. The movie gained a cult following and became the highest grossing foreign language movie in North America. The movie earned HK$4,990,000 on the first day. The movie was released in 2,503 theaters after its success. This is the highest for any foreign language movie ever. Though it wasn’t a blockbuster, it managed to become the highest grossing foreign language movie in North America.(source)
Kung Fu Hustle was described as a supreme achievement in terms of comedy in the modern age by Bill Murray.
Billy Murray during an interview with the GQ magazine, mentioned how impressed he was with the movie. He described the movie as a supreme achievement in terms of action comedy in the modern era. (source)