For years, movie fans in China have been well versed in the action-comedy movies of Stephen Chow. But while other Chinese stars like Jackie Chan and Jet Li had found stardom in America, there was once doubt that Chow’s movies would find the same reception. That changed in 2004 when Kung Fu Hustle hit American theaters. The story of a poor young man pretending to be part of a gang in order to menace the residents of a Chinese ghetto became a hit with critics and fans alike.
15 years after Kung Fu Hustle gained a following in the United States came an announcement by Chow that a sequel was in the works. So far, there isn’t much known for certain about what fans can expect from a Kung Fu Hustle 2, but we’ve done our best to piece together a few things that we know to be true.
Kung Fu Hustle director Stephen Chow will return
The original Kung Fu Hustle was written and directed by Stephen Chow, so it’s not a major surprise that he’ll be at the helm of the franchise’s newest entry. While Chow originally made his name in his native China as an actor, making television appearances as far back as the early 1980s, he’s turned his eye more toward directing in recent years. His first turn behind the camera came in 1994’s From Beijing with Love, but he truly burst onto the American movie landscape with the cult classic Shaolin Soccer in 2001.
Three years later, Kung Fu Hustle made its way into theaters, forcing American audiences to take notice of what Chinese moviegoers had known for years. The movie earned nearly universal praise from American reviewers, with the Washington Post describing it as having “Buster Keaton’s gymnastic inventiveness, Sergio Leone’s tough-guy posturing and the Three Stooges’ antic madness.” Now more than a decade later, fans are itching to see what Chow has up his sleeve next.
Kung Fu Hustle 2 will have a new storyline
Any fans expecting to see the next step in the adventures of Sing and the residents of Pig Sty Alley could be disappointed with the latest installment. While Chow definitely confirmed that Kung Fu Hustle 2 is in the works, he says that the film will be more of a “spiritual follow up” to the original. In that way, the new movie could probably be better characterized as more of a reboot than a sequel.
That news opens a lot of possibilities for what the new flick could be about. If the latest film isn’t directly about Sing and his cohorts, it could still involve one of his descendants or some other residents of Pig Sty Alley. There is also a chance that we could see the return of a rebuilt and reconstituted Axe Gang, or maybe one of the other gangs that terrorized the area. Finally, it’s worth asking if the new movie will even be called Kung Fu Hustle or will go by another title. Indeed, mysteries abound.
Kung Fu Hustle 2 is expected to have a modern-day setting
One thing we know for sure is that Kung Fu Hustle 2 will take place in a different timeline. In an interview with M.A.A.C., Chow said that the movie will take place in a modern-day setting. That’s vastly different from the original film, which was set in the 1940s before the Chinese Communist Revolution. Of course, the depiction of life in a local city was stylized to look like something from an American gangster film of the same era (most notably the suits and hats worn by the Axe Gang). In a movie with plenty of purposely cartoonish sequences, it’s hard to quibble with such creative license.
However, it does go a long way toward explaining why the new movie will be less of a direct sequel and more of a follow-up. A new time period brings with it a new set of social standards and a whole new set of bad guys (or girls).
Kung Fu Hustle 2 will be set in a foreign country
The majority of Stephen Chow’s films have been set in his native China. Kung Fu Hustle was no different. But for Kung Fu Hustle 2, Chow is looking to make a major departure from the place he knows — literally. The filmmaker says that the new movie will be set in a foreign country. That expansion of horizons furthers the idea that the new movie will have just a passing connection to the original film.
The idea that the new flick will be set in a country other than China opens up a nearly limitless array of locales. Could Chow be bringing his latest story to the shores of America? One certainly wonders. It also means that we’re not likely to see many of the same characters that we came to know and love from the original Kung Fu Hustle.
Kung Fu Hustle 2 will feature “a lot of new characters”
Part of the charm of the first Kung Fu Hustle was the cast of colorful characters, many of whom were more memorable than the main character (Sing, played by Stephen Chow) himself. The nightgown-wearing, hair-in-curlers, chain-smoking Landlady (Qiu Yuen) with her perpetually foul attitude and neighborhood-razing shrieks could almost be considered the star. Alas, it’s likely that we’ve seen the last of her.
According to Chow, “There will be a lot of new characters in the movie. We’ll need a lot of new actors.” That would further cement the idea that the good people of Pig Sty Alley won’t be back for the sequel, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the cast will be completely devoid of familiar faces. Chow has worked with recurring performers in the past. For instance, Kung Fu Hustle featured Kwok-Kwan Chan and Tze Chung Lam as holdovers from Shaolin Soccer. Fans would certainly be excited to see the return of those two — or any others — in the new movie.