Hong Kong / China - 2001
Directed by - Stephen Chow
Starring - Stephen Chow, Patrick Tse, Vicki Zhao, Ng Man Tat
Color / 113 Min / Rated PG
Sing (Chow) is a down on his luck kung-fu master, on bad terms with his Shaolin brothers after the death of their mentor and eking out a humble existence on the streets selling tin cans. Sing’s dream is to legitimize kung-fu by teaching the masses of its practical uses in everyday life, but his schemes are met with failure until he meets ex-soccer star “Golden Leg“ Fung (Man Tat). Sing has the bright idea to promote martial arts through a soccer team, with Fung as the coach and his estranged Shaolin brothers playing alongside. But convincing everyone to join up might be the toughest trial Sing has ever faced, and even if Sing does get his Shaolin team together, the championship-winning Team Evil, led by the nefarious Hung (Tse), will be waiting for them on the pitch.
Yes. I said Team Evil.
Yes. That is the awesomest name for a sports team ever.
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As with many actioners made around the turn of the century, The Matrix is a source of great inspiration here. (Gee, remember when that film was new and fresh and not stricken with sequelitis? Don’t you feel old now?) There’s plenty of ‘bullet time’ effects in addition to wire-based kung-fu on display. Not to imply that Shaolin Soccer is in any way a rip-off. The action scenes show a great deal of invention, especially in the approach to using the soccer ball as a weapon between members of Team Shaolin and Team Evil during the epic climax. There’s explosions on the field too. Because it wouldn’t be much of a soccer movie without explosions. Am I right?
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4 / 5