Shaolin Soccer (aka: Siu lam juk kau)
(in Cantonese with English subtitles)
Directed by Stephen Chow
Shaolin Soccer, a kung-fu/comedy/soccer/musical, is pure silliness, Hong Cong style. In a sense, it contains the elements of most sports movies: talented-but-down-on-his-luck star player, accomplished-but-recently-fired coach, truly evil opponents (they’re even called Team Evil), and the Big Game. But instead of the earnestness of a true sports flick, this is nothing but fun – people leaping fifty feet into the air, kicking the ball so hard that it flames like a meteor, as well as music and dance numbers thrown in here and there. The wildly unrealistic special effects are clearly low-budget but, in this case, they only add to wacky atmosphere.
The set-up is that the star player starts out as a struggling kung-fu master who meets the coach who recognizes his potential, recruits the star’s brothers (also kung-fu masters) to form a team and trains the motley crew to be competitive. This is not only a funny movie, in my opinion, but interesting in that it gave me little peek into pop culture in Hong Cong -- the film was very successful over there. I hope it finds an audience here in the states.
Photographs are copyright Miramax.
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