Excerpts from a review of the new movie Kung Fu Hustle from kids-in-mind.com, a movie Web site for parents.
KUNG FU HUSTLE
Highly stylized martial arts comedy taking place in an anachronistic version of 1930′s Shanghai: The dominant criminal gang invades a slum, but has a very hard time subduing its residents when some of them are revealed to be extraordinary kung fu masters. The battles escalate in audacity until a veritable kung fu genius shows up. With Stephen Chow, Chan Kwok, Kwok Kwan, Yuen Wah, Yuen Qiu and Huang Sheng Yi. Directed by Stephen Chow. In Mandarin and Cantonese with English subtitles.
SEX/NUDITY 2-A woman inhales forcefully and her chest expands to an exaggerated size. One character wears his pants pulled partly down in the back revealing his bare buttocks in many scenes; and a man’s pants are torn revealing a part of his bare buttock. A man is bare-chested while bathing. A corpulent man is bare-chested and when he pounds his arm down his ample chest jiggles.
A man caresses his wife’s clothed buttocks as she walks with an exaggerated wiggle.
Two men admire a woman as she walks past them.
A married man appears to be flirting with a woman who is not his wife, and says, “Let me give you a physical exam”; she then kisses him on the cheek. A married man has lipstick on his cheek in a few scenes suggesting that a woman has kissed him (she was not his wife).
A woman wears a short and low-cut negligee. We see a woman’s bra shoot through the air after she slams into a billboard, and we see a bra hanging from a clothesline. A man sits in his boxer shorts and undershirt.
VIOLENCE/GORE 8-Two men fight with many punches and kicks: one has long nails that cut the other’s chest (we see some blood), many ethereal swords fly toward one man, he dodges them, he picks up a large stone wheel, throws it at the man throwing the swords, and the stone dissolves into dust; then ethereal fists sail toward the man and when he is hit we see indentations in his chest and abdomen, and some bloody wounds, and he falls to the ground.
A large group of men with axes surround several men and a woman, and all but one of the men are shot.
A man runs but falls to the ground-his leg is apparently cut off below the knee by an ax-and a man stands over him and hits him with an ax several times (we hear crunching and squishing and see splattered blood on the killer’s face).
A man’s head is cut off (we see, but not distinctly, his head and body fall to the ground separately).
A man hits a man in the head with a piece of a wooden beam, the man punches the man hard in the stomach, kicks him into the air, slams him to the ground, and then punches his face several times causing his head to be totally pushed into the floor as if he’s a cartoon (we hear that his face is pulp, but he’s alive).
A man punches a man, he falls off of a balcony, he is hit a few more times mid-air, and the two fight with quick punches; then one stomps and flattens the other’s foot. In another scene, a man is threatened by many men with axes, and as they swing at him, he punches, kicks and fends them off, and many men are thrown through the air; the man then stomps on the feet of a few of his adversaries, apparently crushing and flattening them.
A man throws a knife at a woman, it hits a beam above him, the knife ricochets and hits the man in the shoulder; another man throws a knife and hits the first man in the other shoulder, and the second man then stabs the first man twice more in the shoulder by accident (we see the knives sticking out of his body, but he seems fine otherwise).
A man strikes a “toad” pose: he is on all fours, his cheeks and throat swell up, and he jumps toward another man, becoming a projectile: he pushes the man through several walls and then high into the sky. When the airborne man starts falling back to the ground his hands are in flames and he plummets to the ground looking like a flaming meteorite; he eventually pushes out his hands, slapping a man on the ground and making a huge handprint in the ground.
A man falls down a flight of stairs, he imagines seeing a wall of blood flowing toward him.
A man kicks many gang members attacking a slum: we see some crashing through windows, others crashing into balconies, and another man joins in, punching more gang members; the gang members bring out guns, and a man with a long stick disarms them and then beats many men with his stick (we hear many loud blows).
Many ethereal skeletal warriors with swords sail toward a man and a woman, the woman screams, and the warriors turn to dust and two men are left with shredded clothing.
A large number of gang members walk into a slum, a woman is grabbed by the hair, a man is held down onto the ground, other villagers are shoved and forced to lie on the ground, and a woman and boy are doused with a flammable liquid; a man throws a lit lighter toward them, but another man catches the lighter. A man raises an ax to strike a man, the screen goes black and the man with the ax is crumpled in a barrel with a broken back (we see him later foaming at the mouth and twitching).
A man and a woman fight a man, and in a close-up they kick him in the face and head causing his features to become squished; all three then exchange powerful and loud punches and kicks, the woman screams, a man kicks her in the head, she is thrown back against wall, and the woman hits the man in the head with a stick.
A man twists another man’s arm like a corkscrew, and then does the same thing to a woman’s arm. A man hits and kicks a man and a woman (she has a bloody mouth), the woman screams through the shell of a large bell creating a megaphone, the noise tears a building apart, we see dust and shrapnel and we see a man thrown back through the air (he has a large wound on his head).
A woman hits a man in the head, then punches him repeatedly, then throws him out a window, and we see him crash through awnings and land hard on the ground; the woman then throws a flower pot that breaks on his head (he is fine later).
A man’s hair is set on fire, a man throws a flammable liquid on his head to try to put it out, and the fire grows (we see him flailing and see smoke billowing out of the car window) ….
Several boys hold a girl by the hair trying to steal her lollipop, another boy intervenes, the group of boys attacks him with punches and kicks (he has a bloody nose) and then they urinate on him.
A woman beats a man with her slipper repeatedly.
A woman chases a man (the man has three knives sticking out of his shoulders) along a road, they run super-fast, they run and jump, one slips under an oncoming truck, and the other jumps over and crashes into a billboard.
A man throws a firecracker that explodes on another man’s head, blowing a hole in his hat (the man is fine).
A woman yells loudly, glass breaks and people cover their ears.
A woman threatens a man by cracking her knuckles and making a fist.
A man is grabbed by two men and forcibly taken to a nightclub.
A boy has large globs of mucous around his nose.
PROFANITY 5-1 F-word, 8 scatological terms, 12 anatomical terms, 8 mild obscenities, 4 derogatory terms for homosexuals, name-calling (numbskull, wimps).
SUBSTANCE USE-A man drinks a clear liquor and appears to stagger, presumably drunk. A man drinks alcohol from a flask in several scenes. One woman has a lit cigarette hanging from her mouth throughout the entire movie; in a couple of scenes she inhales the whole cigarette with one drag. A man smokes a pipe that could contain opium or some other drug. A man smokes a cigarette and a man smokes a cigar in a few scenes.
DISCUSSION TOPICS-Gang violence, fear, poverty, ambition, world peace, greed, blackmail, destiny, effeminate men, power, responsibility, sorrow, mental asylums, martial arts masters, supernatural powers.
MESSAGE-Things are not always as they appear, and people may have well-hidden talents.
The Jamba Juniors
On a recent afternoon in a Starbucks on 87th Street and Lexington Avenue, well-groomed men and women were sipping skim mocha lattes to a soundtrack of Joni Mitchell and the whirring of espresso machines. Right across the street, in the colorful, well-lit Jamba Juice smoothie shop, the well-heeled spawn of those latte sippers were indulging in a growing status symbol.
There were no chairs and little space: a hard place to really hang out. But this Jamba Juice, nestled between a Petco and a wine store, has become a destination for the braces-and-blazers set, a social nexus of the uptown private-school world. With Dalton, Spence and Nightingale just a hop, skip and jump away, privileged teens in cheek-skimming pleats and Hervé Chapelier purses-cum-book-bags cycle through the joint on their way to, from or during school for a naturally delicious sugar fix they can be seen with.
“Do you know how many carbs you’re getting?!!” a pink North Face–clad girl, no more than 13, asked her friend.
“We’ll come and get some stuff and go shopping or walk home,” said Elysabeth Grossman, 15, a ninth-grader at the Horace Mann School who was wearing oversized sunglasses and pricey sweatpants. She fished $4.51 out of her gold purse for her smoothie.
She said that she and her friends, who ride the same bus to Horace Mann’s Riverdale campus from their homes on the Upper East Side, have been coming to this location since it opened in September.
Elysabeth was the obvious ringleader of her crew, which consisted of another less-animated girl, a gangly boy in a trucker hat and his friend, who is 14 but who wished to be identified as 15 for this article. Elysabeth remembered her first Jamba Juice experience: summer tennis camp in Stanford, Calif.
She added that her crew has also been known to frequent New York’s first-ever Jamba Juice at the Time Warner Center-closer to the shops.
“The Dalton kids must be in heaven,” a girl in line said to her nodding friends. Wearing a Dalton baseball cap, she attended the prestigious U.E.S. institution in elementary school, but was now a senior at Columbia Prep.
She was aware of the smoothie’s-and the location’s-social significance.
“Eighty-sixth, when you’re young, is a big place to run into people if you’re in school on the Upper East Side,” she said.
She was also aware that it was a time in these customers’ lives when every accessory-even a beverage-is carefully calculated for maximum social impact.
“What you’re doing, and where you’re seen, is more important here,” she said. “I think people like ‘Oh, I’m drinking Jamba Juice’ more than the actual drink.”
Admittedly, by standing around a popular teenage hot spot asking young boys and girls if they go to school in the area, I was acting like the kind of person about whom my old high school would have sent out safety bulletins.
When I asked two girls-one from Spence, the other from Chapin-how often they came here, they told me, “It’s, like, a popular place,” followed quickly by:
“We don’t, like, hang out here on the weekends.”
And with one disdainful sideways glance and a haughty toss of straightened hair, I was dismissed.