In the back of my mind, I think if American Soccer was anything like this, then there wouldn’t be any question as to the popularity of the sport. Then again, I think people would be contrarian for the sake of being contrarian against soccer, so it is a moot point. Anyways, what I am getting at here is some half-assed connection between today’s movie, the state of sports fanaticism and what I will be doing today, cause I like to pick relevant movies that I like that happen to coincide with what I am doing this day. No, I am going to see shaolin soccer as that doesn’t exist, thus making me sadder at the fact. Yes I am going to see a soccer match tonight, so go Sporting KC.
Sing (Stephen Chow) is a modern-day Shaolin monk who has become a master of traditional fighting skills, and is renowned for his “leg of steel.” However, these days there isn’t much call for a Shaolin warrior, and Sing and his fellow monks earn their keep working menial jobs until a soccer coach gets the bright idea of translating Sing’s talent for kicking to the soccer field. Sing becomes the lynchpin of a team playing in a tournament that could net them a $1 million purse, but even with Sing’s footwork, beating the steroid-fueled champions will be no easy task. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Let’s get this out of the way, the plot is non-sense, the effects are the sort of cheesy fun that you see on Sy-Fy, but it doesn’t matter one bit. I really enjoyed watching Shaolin Soccer for the over-the-top antics and playful effects that director Stephen Chow put to screen. If you aren’t familiar with Stephen Chow films like CJ-7 or even Kung Fu Hustle, then you might not think much of this movie. It is a cartoon come to life, one that just chugs along from the little plot beats there are to the next cgi effects, but it is a fun little ride when you just take it at face value.
The movie plays out just like every other sports movie out there. The underdog, ragtag team of misfits that have to learn to come together and find the balance needed to overcome the super power opposition. It’s fun watching the little martial art touches that each character has on the field. From a guy that can absorb every powerful soccer kick to the stomach and the guy with the iron head, they all have their little niches that lend to a patchwork of wonderful special effects and team play in Shaolin Soccer. Stephen Chow does know how to make an entertaining movie with his lively antics and cartoon-like sensibilities.
For all that it’s worth, Shaolin Soccer is a fun movie to watch. Not much in the way of story telling (it is a bit non-sensical) or contrived plot, the movie just relies on the wacky set of characters and their Shaolin specific training skills on the soccer field to make for an entertaining time. The effects blend nicely in the movie with their cheesy nature, but also for being cool and elemental looking. The action on the field might not be up to regulation play, but the Shaolin style makes it far more entertaining than it should be. Overall, great movie from Chow and a solid watch.
*images via RottenTomatoes