Movie Poster
Shaolin Soccer
Stephen Chow
Stephen Chow, Zhao Wei, Ng Man Tat, Patrick Tse
112 min.


"Wire fu soccer," I overhear, "what more could you want?"

Well, for starters, some real kung fu. The computer is a fantastic tool, but I have never been convinced that they can replicate the Shaolin method. This is amusing enough, featuring a comedic lead that looks like a cross between Tony Leung and Ray Davies and acts like a cross between Chow Yun-Fat and Jim Varney, but the fighting really needed to be beefed up. The love story starts off interesting, then gets triter and triter until the credits roll.

I think I would have loved this movie, in spite of all of its problems, if it actually featured people using kung fu to play soccer. Instead it looks like a digital storyboard of that hypothetical movie. Where Zatoichi got past its bastard CG progenation, that was because it was a good movie beyond the sword fighting. Shaolin Soccer is just a silly comedy, though it is, in that, perfectly successful. Zatoichi also at times used its CG liability as an asset, making blood spurt everywhere at every opportunity. Shaolin Soccer really only uses the CG for rediculous impossibility humor a few times, the rest of the time it just robs the soccer/kung fu scenes of the amazement they should hold.

There are a few really nice touches, such as naming the enemy team Evil Team. But overall, again, there are better kung fu movies available. Just look for the Shaw Brothers label (you know, the one Tarantino stole for the beginning of Vol 1).

Pat Jackson