Shaolin Soccer

"OK"

Shaolin Soccer Review


"Kung-fu soccer! Pow!"

If that one over-enthusiastic, plot-summarizing line of dialogue (delivered with all the air-punching, jumbo gusto that Hong Kong B-movies are known for) doesn't make you smile at its jolly absurdity, then stop reading now -- "Shaolin Soccer" isn't the movie for you.

Still smiling? Then you probably already know everything you need know about this tongue-all-the-way-through-its-cheek comedy import in which a martial-arts-trained underdog leads a team of misfits into a soccer tournament where they use CGI-souped-up ancient fighting techniques to overpower a corporate squad of scowling steroid supermen in an extreme-soccer showdown.

Written and directed by lead actor Stephen Chow (the superstar spoof king of Asian cinema), it's a proudly -- and often hysterically -- lowbrow goof on come-from-behind sports movies and wire-work kung-fu action pictures, which two years ago shattered every Hong Kong box office record and scooped up a boatload of awards.

Chow stars as a down-on-his-luck ex-shaolin-monk who meets a washed-up former soccer idol (Ng Man-Tat) and together they recruit a band of hapless oddballs with holes in their shoes to revolutionize the world of futbol. The story arc is obvious and familiar -- training montages, team unity setbacks, etc., all leading up to the Big Match against their rivals, actually called "Team Evil." Yep, "Shaolin Soccer" is just that silly. But the ludicrousness of it is the movie's delight -- up to a point.

Players regularly defy the laws of physics. Musical numbers have a tendency to break out clumsily at random ("I am also overwhelmed by the impulse to break into song!" Chow exclaims to a kung-fu-styled sweet roll maker at a bakery). Sound effects are used with outlandish results (bad guys knocked over in a fight scene get the bowling-pin treatment on the soundtrack). Power-booted soccer balls tear up the ground they traverse, fry goalies' uniforms, cause atmospheric shockwaves and, when kicked high enough, burn up on re-entry from space.

The movie's one notable hurdle is that Chow clearly values all this comical lunacy over a good script, so by the third act stupidity is threatening to outpace that jolly absurdity, and "Shaolin Soccer" is threatening to become the kind of Hong Kong movie you laugh at instead of laughing with.

This never becomes enough of a burden to spoil the fun, but it does prevent the flick from becoming the outrageous cross-cultural comedy classic it could have been.



Shaolin Soccer

Facts and Figures

Run time: 87 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 12th July 2001

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Fresh: 82 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Sing, as Fung, Patrick Tse Yin as Hung, as Mui, Wong Yat-Fei as Iron Head, Tenky Tin Kai-Man as Iron Shirt, Mok Mei-Lam as Hooking Leg, Danny Chan Kwok-Kwan as Empty Hands, Lam Tze-Chung as Weight Vest, Karen Mok Man-Wai as Dragon Twin, as Dragon Twin, Lee Kin-Yan as Manny

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Advertisement
Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.