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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 Jay Seaver

"I liked it quite a bit. Now give me the whole movie."
4 stars

It has become expected, almost a clichй, really, that when someone discusses Shaolin Soccer on the internet,, they must express anger and frustration at Miramax for how that company has screwed up the American release of this movie in every conceivable way. I suppose I could buck this tradition, but I won't. Ahem:

<I>What the hell is wrong with Miramax? I remember seeing trailers for this movie before </>Spy Kids <b>2</B><I> a couple years ago, and yet they've sat on it so long that the good folks who run the Weekly Ass-Kickings have schedules Stephen Chow movies several times in order to take advantage of its announced release only to see it not come out. They gave it such a ridiculously limited release in April that it doesn't even make it to Boston. BOSTON, fer crying out loud, where we have tons of college students (many of them Asian) who one would think would eat this thing up. It didn't even make it to the Brattle until two and a half weeks before the video release. And the version released? Cut, by about fifteen minutes! Why? I seriously wonder who should be more insulted by that, the American audience or the Chinese filmmakers/audience; this was a huge hit in Hong Kong, but for some reason that's not enough for Miramax to just give us the damn movie that Stephen Chow made.</I>

Okay. Even after all Miramax's screwing around with the movie, the end result is pretty darn entertaining. The action sequences blow past wire-fu straight to <I>Matrix</I>-style flat-out contempt for realism. Indeed, this is easily the most CGI-intensive movie I've seen come out of Hong Kong. Even before Miramax did some work to replace written Chinese with written English in a few scenes, there's extensive digital effects work in most of the martial arts/soccer bits, including a capacity crowd at the soccer stadium that looks just slightly more convincing than a similar scene in <I>The Phantom Menace</I>.

But although we've all seen plenty of <I>Matrix</I> spoofs by now (though, to be fair, when <I>Shaolin Soccer</I> hit Hong Kong in 2001, those would be a lot more current), Chow's are actually funny. He recognizes that it's not enough to just depict something ordinary with gravity-defying bullet time, but that there's got to be a joke there, and that timing is just as important as it is in any sort of slapstick.

The plot is pretty darn close to what you'd see in any sports movie - group of misfits team with an outcast leader to enter a tournament, become a team, and eventually defeat the villainous team that previously screwed the leader over - here, simply called "Team Evil". This is not a sophisticated comedy at all - we not only get "Team Evil", but one of the first bits of slapstick actually involves a banana peel. It is, in fact, even broader than <I>Dodgeball</I>, but involves basically the same trick - spoofing sports movie conventions, but stopping just short of winking to the audience about them. Such mainstays as the overweight guy and the token girl abound, and Patrick Tse's Hung, the leader of Team Evil, is as caricatured as villains get.

It's tough for me to ride the movie too hard about its simplicity, though because, as I mentioned, 15% of it is missing in America (unless you pick up an import DVD; I hear New England Comics sells them here in the Boston area, or there's the link over in the upper left corner). I can say, though, with certainty, that what is left, I liked quite a bit. Now give me the rest.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7062&reviewer=371
originally posted: 08/09/04 13:08:21
[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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