Actor-director Stephen Chow has confirmed that he is planning to make Kung Fu Hustle 2, a sequel to his 2004 cult film Kung Fu Hustle. The original movie was actually a modest foreign-language hit in America with $17 million at the box office, while doing $83 million internationally for a worldwide haul of $100 million, on a reported budget of just $20 million.
In addition to directing, co-writing and co-producing Kung Fu Hustle, Chow also starred in the film as the lead character Sing, a loser living in 1930s China whose only dream in life is to join the Axe Gang, a group of thugs who run the local slum. As it turns out, the tenants of this slum are no ordinary poor folk, but are actually kung fu masters. The story in fact only serves as an excuse for a display of over-the-top kung fu wizardry that earned raves from critics, including Roger Ebert, who compared Chow to Buster Keaton and Quentin Tarantino. The film currently holds a 90 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Fifteen years after Kung Fu Hustle first wowed martial arts movie fans with its unique blend of cartoonish action, nostalgia and comedy, Chow confirms that a sequel is coming. As reported by the website M.A.A.C., Chow made the revelation during an interview promoting his 2019 film The New King of Comedy. Chow said he will direct Kung Fu Hustle 2 after he completes his next project, a sequel to his 2016 film The Mermaid.
Interestingly, Chow also indicated that he likely would not star in Kung Fu Hustle 2, but would only make a cameo appearance. Chow also said that the new movie would not be a direct sequel to the first but would instead be a “spiritual follow up” set in the present day. Chow initially announced a sequel to Kung Fu Hustle way back in 2005, but later shelved the movie as other projects arrived to fill up his plate. In the years since 2004, Chow has directed the sci-fi movie CJ7 and the action-comedy Journey to the West, as well as the fantasy film The Mermaid. At one time Chow was reportedly tapped to direct the ill-fated Seth Rogen action-comedy The Green Hornet but ultimately ceded those duties to Michel Gondry.
While Chow's Kung Fu Hustle may not be a movie that casual film fans are familiar with, it does have a very strong and loyal cult following, and is regarded by many as one of the classic martial arts movies of recent years. Of course, revisiting any classic movie many years after the fact is always a difficult proposition, as has been proven time-and-again. It will be interesting to see if this time Chow follows through and delivers on his promise to make Kung Fu Hustle 2, or if another project arises that once again puts the movie on hold.