3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2001
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 111 minutes
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Wow! A movie about kung-fu soccer! How could this not be a barrel of monkeys? Well, a barrel of monkeys it is indeed, but they’re goofy little buggers for sure. The one thing that keeps this movie from being an instant classic is its tendency towards childishly goofy humor. I guess it all depends on how you like your funny. Some may find the jokes as real knee-slappers, but I couldn’t help but see a poor attempt by Stephen Chow to be the kung-fu Peter Sellers, both before and behind the camera. Still, “Shaolin Soccer” is a joy to behold, you just have to check that your threshold for goofiness is set rather high. Then you’ll be ready for a good time.
Sing, is a down and out dreamer who finds that his kung-fu skills are best used on the soccer field. Lead by Coach Golden Leg Fung, an ex-pro soccer player, Sing rounds up his kung-fu brothers to form the Shaolin soccer team. The team use their amazing talents to rise through the ranks of the pro soccer league to finally take on the Evil Team, led by Hung, an ex-pro soccer player who devised an “accident” back in the day to have Fung’s Golden Leg broken so he could no longer play soccer.
“Shaolin Soccer” is jam-packed with Matrix-style, slow-motion wire work and flashy digital effects that make the soccer field look like the battleground of a “Dragonball” episode rather than a good old fashion soccer game. Fans of fancy footwork may be a little disappointed due to the soccer ball rarely ever being dribbled across the field, but rather rocketed across by a super-human kick or head-butt.
The story of an underdog rising up to claim his glory is a little sappy if only because of the film’s goofball characters and humor. Plenty of rockin’ supernatural soccer playing sequences, however make for a very entertaining watch.

Posted on April 4, 2004 in Reviews by

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