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Overall Rating
4.22

Awesome56.73%
Worth A Look: 29.81%
Just Average: 1.92%
Pretty Crappy: 1.92%
Sucks: 9.62%

7 reviews, 62 user ratings


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Shaolin Soccer
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by Erik Childress

"Hey Youve Got Kung Fu Mixed With My Soccer!"
4 stars

The first time I saw Shaolin Soccer I actually wept. Not the kind of sad, bawling display but those tears of joy that accompany laughter and pleasant surprise. I wanted everyone to see this film. I wanted them to admit that soccer, the sport I grew up playing, could indeed be fun and more than just the niche activity that suddenly gets press at World Cup time. This was pure, cartoon-oriented silliness that was hysterical in that Looney Tunes mentality and full of a life that few films could duplicate. That was over a year ago before Miramax bought the film for domestic release and then sat on it, changed it, sat on it, sat on it some more, changed it back and changed it back again. The current version headed to U.S. theaters still has most of what made me fall in love with the film to begin with, but definitely lost something in the translation that has made me weep for altogether different reasons.

If you want to shake up the wide world of sports to bring the fans in, forget the steroids and bring in the kung fu. Thats what former soccer champion, Golden Leg (Man Tat Ng) thinks when he sees Mighty Steel Leg Sing (director Stephen Chow) use his Shaolin techniques to disband a gang with the help of a dotted ball. Sing has been looking for a way to bring Shaolin to the masses so hes ready to kick some grass. (Dont look at me, thats on the poster.)

Sing brings his old Shaolin brothers back together to form their team. The competition, perfectly entitled The Evil Team is headed by Golden Legs former teammate, Hung (Patrick Tse), who got him to dishonor hisself on the soccer field many years ago. Thus the stage is set for all the ragtag underdog clichs right up to the climactic big game. But it makes for a whole lot more fun when the players can fly, traditional kicks can explode the clothes off you and the game literally becomes the battlefield that metaphors always claim it is. Every moment a soccer ball is on screen, the film just brims with wondrous insanity.

Every bit of nuttiness works in Shaolin Soccer. At least in the original version. There should be classes in film school devoted to what Miramax do to international treasures when bringing them stateside. Seriously, it would be a great lesson for upcoming filmmakers to understand how the slightest changes in editing can alter an entire project.

Students can examine line-by-line the changes in the subtitled dialogue and the way certain jokes are dumbed down for an American audience; save for one clever extension of a gag with a cell phone. About 20 minutes of Shaolin Soccer has been cut, and yet still they chose to add back in a deleted dance number so lame and out-of-place that it may lose audience members before it has a chance to get kickin. Scenes have been cut down, sacrificing both character moments and whole jokes. Some of the more violent Three Stooges-like humor (especially a hilarious scrimmage game) has also been snipped here and there which now makes them stand-out as a little more vicious than obviously intended.

This is all but the musings of someone comparing the superior version to what is fundamentally the edited-for-TV adaptation. Because whatever one you get to see is liable to hit that childhood funnybone and have it tingling for repeat viewings. From Lowell Lo & Raymond Wongs Hans Zimmer-esque score to the humorously cheesy but effective special effects, Shaolin Soccer is great entertainment for families. But especially for soccer enthusiasts like me who has been waiting years to have a movie surrounding it worth justifying its existence. I can finally put to rest those bad dreams of Victory, Ladybugs and The Big Green. Now if they can only get around to that sequel, Shaolin Bowling.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=7062&reviewer=198
originally posted: 04/23/04 00:49:34
[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

4/02/11 Glenn Extremely funny, cool visuals, with touching subplot with the (stunning) Vicky Zhao. 5 stars
1/05/10 , , knqet, , 5 stars
1/18/09 J S Good, but the subtitled Hong Kong is much better. It was like watching a different movie. 4 stars
1/11/09 Shaun Wallner Awesome Story! 5 stars
4/30/07 tolga film muhteem abi.. (perfect) 5 stars
3/21/07 lui was an amazin' film very intreaging.. 5 stars
1/23/06 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
9/01/05 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
6/27/05 sbpat21 hilarious 5 stars
5/27/05 juli Great movie 5 stars
4/26/05 brody this is funny as hell 5 stars
4/25/05 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
10/22/04 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
8/26/04 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
8/16/04 Herolder Way too silly 3 stars
8/11/04 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
4/27/04 Eilan brin a few friends w/ you to the theater to watch it; you'll laugh your pants off 5 stars
4/25/04 ken fantastically fun, creatively stimulating and inspiring 5 stars
4/05/04 cinkcool Funny as horse shit on Hilary Clinton 5 stars
4/03/04 da hood ive never seen anything more fucking stupid.... i mean. fuck! 1 stars
3/30/04 Janeen Thong Fantastic! Go see it 5 stars
3/27/04 mark im a jew 4 stars
3/21/04 Thomas Watched this film on the airplaneit was so funny, I would definately watch it again! 5 stars
3/10/04 Bingo was his name-o Takes a while to kick off, but it's a great fun sports/chop socky flick. 4 stars
10/10/03 Fee Moua this movie is fucking tight as hell 5 stars
9/14/03 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
8/28/03 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
8/02/03 shaolin_gurl this movie is great...very funny..i own tha movie. it's a greart movie to watch with frens! 5 stars
7/08/03 I am always right BEST comedy EVER. 5 stars
7/08/03 Zoodle The action is so fast that you have to watch it twice to catch the subtitles. 5 stars
6/21/03 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
6/16/03 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
5/25/03 David Dam Awesome movie .. brought tears to my eyes from laughing 5 stars
5/23/03 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
5/05/03 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
3/29/03 Mark Clloway ohhhhh what a rush !!! GREAT MOVIE!!! 5 stars
3/03/03 Dr. Collosus Soooooo funny! 5 stars
2/20/03 Mixx Araneta "This is one wildly insane movie!" 5 stars
2/15/03 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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