I saw Kung Fu Hustle yesterday. God of Cookery it is not. But it was modestly entertaining. In some ways to truly enjoy this film requires more knowledge of Hong Kong cinema than I possess, but the film is a good tribute to the talents of its venerable crew, regardless of whether you know who they are. Older, unassuming actors suddenly burst forth into brilliantly coreographed martial art moves, or rip off a shirt to reveal a still-buff physique. This is really their film; Steven Chow's character drives the plot, bringing Pig Sty Alley in conflict with the Axe Gang, but he is not nearly as much the focus of this film than his previous efforts which I have seen. Which is a good thing, for the most part, as his role as the loser with a swollen head (figuratively and, after a run-in with a pair of cobras, literally) isn't as compelling as some of his other films. But his on-screen participation is kept at a nice balance wiht the residents of Pig Sty Alley and the minions of the Axe Gang, discovering they may need to call in greater authority if they are going to crush their rag-tag adversaries. I was slightly disappointed in the film, just because of my high expectations, but I still recommend it. As Stuart Klawans wrote in The Nation (subscription required to read story), at least this film "gives you something to watch, as today's American pop movies seldom do."