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Overall Rating
4.22

Awesome56.73%
Worth A Look: 29.81%
Average: 1.92%
Pretty Bad: 1.92%
Total Crap: 9.62%

7 reviews, 62 user ratings


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Shaolin Soccer
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by Hawkboy

"A franchise is born. Look out next year for 'Shaolin Gone With the Wind'."
4 stars

Turning any genre of movie into a kung-fu adventure automatically makes it ten times greater. If, say, "Iris" featured Judi Dench kickboxing, well, let's just say I would have probably rented it. This is why "Shaolin Soccer" works. It takes an existing formula, and adds kicking.

Hearing that this would be the new overseas hit that Miramax bought up and plans to hack to pieces and dub over for American consumption, I picked it up, looking to see what it was SUPPOSED to be like, before Herr Weinstein got KFC grease all over it. Oh Harvey, you just LOVE those 11 herbs and spices, don'cha?

I love this movie, and I will unleash a hissy fit of Harry-Knowles-level geekery if it is diluted for its US release. It is a wonderful film, not only funny and amazingly choreographed, but it's a genuine feel-good movie, with characters that you care about. It's not just, "Here are 5 guys. They can fly. Watch them play soccer." The members of the team are all well sketched out characters. It's not exactly Golden Globe award-winning acting, but everything works.

The plot concerns a washed-up former soccer superstar, with the cunning name of "Golden Leg" (Man Tat Ng) who stumbles upon Sing (Stephen Chow, who is apparently more popular in Hong Kong than Jackie Chan - yeah, but does Stephen Chow get a magic tuxedo? He does? Shoot.) who is trying to incorporate shaolin wisdom into everyday society. This is done by singing songs about shaolin wisdom, kicking cans really hard, and generally being a lovable scamp. I can see his frustration - if I was attached to wires at all times, I'd want to try and make a living in which wire-fu figures prominently.

Golden Leg convinces Sing to use his shaolin twirly-whirly to play soccer, because it's filmed in Hong Kong, and everybody knows that the field goal kicker on a football team never gets any respect. Sing manages to convince his brothers to join the team, and they too are shaolin masters. One has a really hard head, one is fat, and one dresses like Bruce Lee. He's the goalie.

Of course, there are setbacks, lessons learned, true love discovered, an evil team (cleverly named "Team Evil" - I mean, wouldn't the soccer federation find that a LITTLE suspicious?), and the worst subtitles in history. I would attempt to transcribe them, but it would break my brain. In the end, the evil team wins, and Golden Leg is murdered just as he is about to do his third good deed. You know, something predictable like that.

This movie is a ton of fun to watch, both in a, "Ha ha, those zany translators" sort of way, but also in a, "Ha ha, he just kicked the ball and it made the other guy's face explode" kind of way. Recommended at all costs. But if I were you (am I?), I'd try to find the original cut before they release the US version. Lord knows what'll be missing. And maybe they'll digitally insert Johnathan Lipnicki as Golden Leg's sassy adopted son.

Please see it several times, so that they can make the sequel I suggested: Shaolin's List. With Stephen Chow as Schindler, and Jackie Chan as the clumsy waiter.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7062&reviewer=27
originally posted: 03/02/03 04:27:41
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 San Francisco Asian-American Film Festival. For more in the 2004 San Francisco Asian-American Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Tribeca Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/03/11 Glenn Extremely funny, cool visuals, with touching subplot with the (stunning) Vicky Zhao. 5 stars
1/06/10 Асд похудеть найти любовницу быстро, Голодание как способ похудеть, knqet, Сколько есть чтобы похудеть, 5 stars
1/19/09 J S Good, but the subtitled Hong Kong is much better. It was like watching a different movie. 4 stars
1/12/09 Shaun Wallner Awesome Story! 5 stars
4/30/07 tolga film muhteєem abi.. (perfect) 5 stars
3/22/07 lui was an amazin' film very intreaging.. 5 stars
1/24/06 Bleach Cinematic equivalent of toxic waste 1 stars
1/19/06 J A Amazing! Stephen Chow is the best theres is. 5 stars
9/27/05 John J. Fantastic stuff! 5 stars
9/19/05 Naruto Overuse of dumb F/X. Total bullshit 1 stars
9/10/05 Tind Min Grossly overrated movie by efilmcritic.com. Rubbish movie 1 stars
9/02/05 Tom Burns This movie has some great action. 5 stars
8/25/05 Connor Anybody who doesn't rate this a 5 fails at life. 5 stars
6/28/05 sbpat21 hilarious 5 stars
5/27/05 juli Great movie 5 stars
4/26/05 brody this is funny as hell 5 stars
4/26/05 slikedges A film of real gravity? Way too cool for that! Totally gravity-free ferocious fun. 5 stars
1/21/05 Gina Louise HILARIOUS. A great into to Stephen Chow's genius. 5 stars
11/09/04 Alaric L another funny film from stephen chow 4 stars
10/23/04 LilyM Not a laugh a minute, but has enough funnies to make it worthwhile. 4 stars
9/10/04 Vince How did this thing ever gather 50%+ Awesome votes????? 2 stars
8/27/04 OtakuAaron Good Movie. Fun to watch and goofy humor. 5 stars
8/22/04 Rob People can be so dumb sometimes...come on, this movie is just stupid. 2 stars
8/17/04 Herolder Way too silly 3 stars
8/12/04 kc pretty bad for stephen chow standards, hes much better than this 4 stars
8/01/04 Wank It would be a whole more lot of fun in chinese actually 4 stars
4/29/04 Zach Best. Soccer. Movie. Ever. 5 stars
4/28/04 Eilan brin a few friends w/ you to the theater to watch it; you'll laugh your pants off 5 stars
4/26/04 ken fantastically fun, creatively stimulating and inspiring 5 stars
4/06/04 cinkcool Funny as horse shit on Hilary Clinton 5 stars
4/04/04 da hood ive never seen anything more fucking stupid.... i mean. fuck! 1 stars
3/31/04 Janeen Thong Fantastic! Go see it 5 stars
3/28/04 mark im a jew 4 stars
3/22/04 Thomas Watched this film on the airplaneit was so funny, I would definately watch it again! 5 stars
3/11/04 Bingo was his name-o Takes a while to kick off, but it's a great fun sports/chop socky flick. 4 stars
10/11/03 Fee Moua this movie is fucking tight as hell 5 stars
9/15/03 Wayne This is what Stephen chow is all about.....halarious 5 stars
9/10/03 Elkan now THAT'S how you make a movie!! 5 stars
9/06/03 Nigelmanselone KILLER KIK! 5 stars
9/01/03 dickson it rocks!!!! 5 stars
8/29/03 doug GREAT see it now! 5 stars
8/29/03 Omnibarn Sell your house, pawn your dog, knock off a 7/11 to buy this movie! 5 stars
8/20/03 GlitterAnjel THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST MOVIE I HAVE EVER SEEN!!!!! 5 stars
8/16/03 Jon Hehee, this movie is a riot. Go watch it with your friends! 5 stars
8/03/03 shaolin_gurl this movie is great...very funny..i own tha movie. it's a greart movie to watch with frens! 5 stars
7/09/03 I am always right BEST comedy EVER. 5 stars
7/09/03 Zoodle The action is so fast that you have to watch it twice to catch the subtitles. 5 stars
6/22/03 InDenZ Actually made me feel involved in a footty match-hard thing to do 5 stars
6/18/03 Hatake Kakashi This is one of the best and funniest film i've ever seen. 5 stars
6/17/03 hudson THIS MOVIE IS FRICKIN' GREAT!!!!!!!!!!I MEAN,THE MATRIX,THE EFFECTS,THE EVERYTHING!!!!!!!! 5 stars
6/14/03 justin marvelous 5 stars
5/31/03 Bloody Vixen Made me interested in football, for a very-very brief while... 5 stars
5/26/03 David Dam Awesome movie .. brought tears to my eyes from laughing 5 stars
5/24/03 Joey I adore this movie ! Story is sweet, CGI effects perfect and acting is adquate. I love it ! 5 stars
5/19/03 Den This movie is soooo stupid!! But I like it anyway 5 stars
5/06/03 Milton Stephen Chow is the man!!! 5 stars
4/22/03 Tinsy Pixie It is a stupidly hilarious film! Call me stupid, but I love it! 5 stars
4/08/03 Win Martin Hilarious - comedy is as accomplished as the kung fu. 5 stars
3/30/03 Mark Clloway ohhhhh what a rush !!! GREAT MOVIE!!! 5 stars
3/04/03 Dr. Collosus Soooooo funny! 5 stars
2/20/03 Mixx Araneta "This is one wildly insane movie!" 5 stars
2/16/03 Monster W. Kung Uneven, to say the last. The soccer part is fantastic, some other jokes are embarrassing. 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Apr-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 24-Aug-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  29-Jul-2004 (PG)


Directed by
  Stephen Chow

Written by
  Stephen Chow
  Kan-Cheung Tsang

Cast
  Stephen Chow
  Vicki Zhao
  Man Tat Ng
  Patrick Tse
  Yut Fei Wong
  Kai Man Tin



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