Like footy? Love kung fu? Then you'll have a blast with the insane Shaolin Soccer. A brash, slapsticking spoof, it follows a group of down-on-their-luck Shaolin monks merging their martial magic with the beautiful game - and making it more beautiful than ever before. What it lacks in sophistication it more than makes up in energy, charm and downright silliness, while the wild game choreography and CGI madness takes film football to absurd new heights. Yes, folks, it's Bend It Like Bruce Lee!
Stephen Chow is Sing, a Shaolin student tasked by his master to find a new way to bring the benefits of kung fu to the masses. He falls in with the legendary but discredited Golden Leg Fung, who is desperate to put one over Hung, coach of the fearsome Team Evil. A squad is duly assembled from Sing's super-powered Shaolin sidekicks; and, well you can guess the rest from there...
"FUNNY AND WARM"
Like DodgeBall, Shaolin Soccer painstakingly picks off every last sports movie cliché. The bunch of misfits? The setbacks? The coming together as a team? The over-the-hill coach with one last shot at the big time? All here - but the flick provides the added bonus of the most outrageous soccer sequences you could imagine.
Chow, as well as playing the lead, also wrote directed, produced and edited the picture. He even did his own stunts. It would be interesting to see what he made of US distributor Miramax's decision to trim 26 minutes from the running time, dub the dialogue into English, and make some spine-rattlingly woeful changes to the score.
Despite such meddling, Shaolin Soccer is funny and warm, and the football scenes will make you gasp and cheer all the way to the end - it's just a shame about missing all that extra time.