Shaolin Soccer Reviews
Following a down on his luck ex-soccer star who was paid off to lose a major match and then betrayed by the man who paid him. This man was Golden Leg, he even had it tattooed on his stomach. Now, as a lost and broken man, Golden Leg finds a new lot in life after meeting a homeless master of Kung fu whose specialty is The Steel Leg technique. Steel Leg has been trying to find a way to bring kung fu the masses in some appealing way. After, a few failed attempts at other kung fu ventures, Steel Leg and his other down on their luck kung fu masters try their luck at soccer coached by Golden Leg...I've written leg a lot today. Now, can the Shaolin soccer team dethrone the evil that is Team Evil, and win soccer and kung fu glory?
What you need to know about this movie is that it has a goofy style to it, like a lot, if not all of Stephen Chow's work. But there is also a sincerity to it that you can't help but support. Also while the overarching plot is not new to the sports genre or the martial arts genre either, this movie still seems like a breath of fresh air for both of them. Playing off the regular cliches and using them as joke points just to add to the exaggeration. When they finally get into the tournament itself, the physical sports comedy just escalates until finally against the unstoppable Team Evil, the movie plays out like an episode of Dragon Ball Z...well maybe multiple episodes of DBZ. Tai Chi and Kung Fu are used to create whirlwinds, fire dragons, and spectacular feats of crazy in a weird and fun wacky finale.
If you can't tell I do like this film a lot. I also do think that it may not be for everyone. If you are a bit more serious about your martial arts, and sports films, then you may not like this one as much. But still, it comes highly recommended by me.
Starring Stephen Chow, whose zany, effects-reliant fighting style would later make Kung Fu Hustle such an unexpected delight, it's a film that insists you flip the switch on your brain for a while and just enjoy the inanity of the moment. The action scenes make no effort to hide the wires or mask the CG, which looks silly but also erases any concern about anchoring them to reality. Freed from those constraints, the sky's the limit for this creative production. It takes every opportunity to one-up previous shots with a flair for the eccentric, culminating in a recklessly destructive, cartoon-violent final match against an equally powerful outfit of genetically engineered soccer stars.
Whenever it tries to go straight and actually focus on storytelling, Shaolin Soccer is a total disaster. Every stereotype about a hurried, inept overseas production rolled into one. Fortunately, we don't wait long between slices of the real sizzle - those absurdly silly effect shots - and the film's wacky, genuine sense of humor helps to balance out the rest. Stupid, stupid fun.