Shaolin Soccer

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Last night Lisa and I watched Shaolin Soccer. It's almost indescribable, but highly entertaining. Sing (Stephen Chow, who also directed) is a Shaolin monk on a crusade to bring Shaolin Kung-Fu to the masses. Fung is a drunk former soccer player. They team up with Sing's Shaolin brothers to enter the big soccer championship and make it all the way to the finals against "Team Evil", led by Fung's nemesis and former teammate.

Each teammate on the Shaolin team seems to have mastered a single Shaolin technique (Mighty Leg of Steel, Iron Head, etc.) which the adapt to soccer. Sing, for instance, has mastered the Mighty Leg of Steel which lets him kick the ball at what appears to be supersonic speeds. In one great kick the ball progressively gets hotter and hotter until it glows, catches fire, and then literally turns into a large cat (jaguar, cheetah, whatever...) and launches itself at the opposing goalie.

Chow has obviously seen plenty of American and Hong Kong action flicks (especially the Matrix) and apes them mercilessly. The appallingly low quality of the computer animation "now it's live action, now it's computer, now it's live action again" only adds to the absurdity. There's even singing, complete with a scientific explanation of the production number effect: "Your beauty lights a fire in me and then I must burst out into song or explode. My singing lights a fire in someone else (complete with video of a fireball growing in my eye) and they must burst into song, and it's like a chain reaction.

Not for everyone, but the people who will like this movie know who you are.

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1 Comments

That movie was advertised during a kid's movie about a year before it was released. It took so long, I assumed it would be a direct to video special. When I saw it advertised at our local indie theater, our whole family dropped what we were doing and headed into Philly. Quite a shocker for my 9, 7, and 3-yr old to see a movie with subtitles... but they claim they loved it. (Of course, they loved Cat in the Hat, too).