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Overall Rating

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
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Brian McKay

"Beckham Bites it - Bend it like BRUCE!"
5 stars

Steven Chow has been touted as the greatest thing to come out of Hong Kong cinema since Jackie Chan and Jet Li combined. His moves are about as impressive as either of them, and his comedic style, while containing some physical elements, relies less on slapstick and more on spontaneity (random dance number, anyone?) and pop-culture references. Now, after kicking around in Asia and on the festival circuit, SHAOLIN SOCCER is poised for a wider release in the States at the end of March.

Shaolin Soccer is the kind of loopy, crazy, and infectiously fun movie that Jackie Chan used to do before he came to the States and started making crap like The Tuxedo. I mean, how can you take anything too seriously in a film where the rivals are simply known as Team Evil? Beginning twenty years earlier, we are introduced to Team Evils future coach, Hung (Patrick Tse) - who hires a mob to break the leg of his rival, Golden Leg Fung (Man Tat Ng) after Fung blows a critical shot and loses a championship game. Back in the present, Hung is rich and famous, while the crippled Fung has been reduced to his lackey. Disgruntled over his treatment, he leaves to try and start his own team, but quickly settles into the life of a drunken bum.

He discovers a second chance, however, when he comes across Sing (Stephen Chow). Sing is also a bum but one with amazing dexterity and one hell of a kick, one that can practically send soccer balls into orbit. It turns out that Sing is a former Shaolin monk, with several brothers who have all fallen into dire straights financially. Although their abilities have grown rusty from disuse, Fung still recognizes their potential and sets out to whip them into shape as a team that can stand up to Team Evil.

Meanwhile, Sing has his eye on Mui (Vicky Zhao), an ugly duckling who just needs her chance to become a swan. Oh, and she happens to be a kung-fu master in her own right, her skills wasted on making sticky-sweet buns for a living. The mystical way she can handle a ball of dough is the only hint you need in order to know that shell be crucial to our heros victory in the third period of the third act's big game.

Shaolin Soccer is quite possibly the best underdog movie since The Bad News Bears, with a healthy dose of random and absurdist comedy that rarely falls flat. The constant exaggeration of speed and power (as supersonic soccer balls smash through walls, tear up grass from the wake of their turbulence, and leave trails of flame behind them) never stops being fun (or funny), with the only fault to be found in the occasionally shoddy bit of CGI animation. Most importantly, the script stays focused and the pacing rarely loses momentum, despite the frequent shifting of comedic gears.

Shaolin Soccer should not disappoint anyone who has hungered for a good sports-comedy lately. Its THE MATRIX without the pretentious pop-philosophy, and BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM without the teen angst. It also features the best Bruce Lee impersonation since Evan C. Kim in KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE. If thats not a selling point, I just dont know what is.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 03/10/04 12:01:40
[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 , , knqet, , 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 muhteem 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 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
6/14/03 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
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  02-Apr-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 24-Aug-2004


  29-Jul-2004 (PG)

Directed by
  Stephen Chow

Written by
  Stephen Chow
  Kan-Cheung Tsang

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

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