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shaolinsoccer_zps206f1c4a.jpg
Siu Lam Juk Kau (少林足球)
The Star Overseas Entertainment, Ltd./Universe Entertainment, 2001
Miramax Pictures, 2004
Directed by Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle, God of Cookery)
Running Time: 112 minutes
Rated II-B (HK) for graphic violence, slight nudity and profanity.

(Author's Note: This review is for the original Hong Kong version, not the butchered U.S. version.)

Cast
Stephen Chow (Sing in Kung Fu Hustle, himself in God of Cookery) as Sing (Mighty Steel Leg)
Vicky Zhao Wei (Sun Shangxiang in Red Cliff I-II, Sue in So Close) as Mui
Ng Man-tat (C.I.B. Agent in King of Comedy) as "Golden Leg" Fung
Patrick Tse Yin as Hung
Wong Yut-fei as Iron Head (First Big Brother)
Lam Chi-chung (Bone in Kung Fu Hustle) as Weight Vest (Sixth Small Brother)
Tin Kai-man (Brother Sum's adviser in Kung Fu Hustle) as Iron Shirt (Second Big Brother)
Mok Mei-lam as Hooking Leg (Third Big Brother)
Danny Chan Kwok-kwan (The Legend of Bruce Lee, Brother Sum in Kung Fu Hustle) as Empty Hand (Fourth Big Brother)
Li Hui as some chick who slips on a banana peel
Cecilia Cheung (Dawn in The Legend of Zu) as Double Handsome Dragons player #1
Karen Mok (Kong Yat-hung in So Close, General Fang in Around the World in 80 Days) as Double Handsome Dragons player #2

Synopsis
Twenty years ago, star soccer player "Golden Leg" Fung missed a penalty kick, costing his team the championship and putting his career to an end when an angry mob crippled his legs in the ensuing riot. Since then, he has been looked down by his former rival Hung, who is now the manager of China's top soccer team. Then one day, while walking on the busy streets of Shanghai, Fung meets Sing, a garbage collector who is a disciple of Shaolin. For years, Sing has tried to find a way to market Shaolin kung-fu to the general public - but to no avail. Fung sees no interest in Sing's personal goal, but when he sees Sing's abilities during a fight, they both decide to form a soccer team with Sing's five Shaolin brothers. Using their extraordinary kung-fu skills, the Shaolin soccer team make a mad dash to the championship, where they must face Hung's genetically altered players.

Lowdown
Hong Kong cinema has some of the biggest names in film history - Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Chow Yun-Fat to name a few. And then, there's Stephen Chow.

Stephen who?

Stephen Chow has been in the business for over two decades, starring in and directing an array of box-office hits in Hong Kong and most of Asia. But until now, Chow has yet to make a name for himself in Hollywood. Perhaps when Miramax finally releases Shaolin Soccer - which is the highest-grossing film in Hong Kong cinema history - the American public will finally know who Chow is.

At first, you'll dismiss Shaolin Soccer as a cheap kung-fu flick with no plot, there actually is a story on this one. And it doesn't focus on fighting. Instead, it blends action and comedy with the philosophy of Shaolin kung-fu and mixes them into a sports drama. Aside from the washed-out player Fung and the impoverished Sing, you have Mui, an acne-riddled bakery worker who uses Tai-chi to make some uniquely good bread. And then, there are Sing's Shaolin "brothers" - Iron Head (a night club janitor), Iron Shirt (an unsuccessful stock broker), Hooking Leg (a dish washer), Empty Hand (currently unemployed) and Weight Vest (an overweight grocery helper). Though he has a minor role, Empty Hand does a great job impersonating Bruce Lee - from the nose rub gesture to his yellow jump suit (taken from Game of Death). Weight Vest also steals some of the spotlight as the heaviest guy to hang on strings.

For its relatively low budget (under US$2 million), Shaolin Soccer has some spectacular effects done by Centro Digital Pictures (Kill Bill vol. 1). Using techniques taken from The Matrix, Forrest Gump, Gladiator and Fight Club, Shaolin Soccer's special effects have you hanging on the edge of your seats - whether it's the bullet-time camera views or the flaming soccer ball that turns into a blazing puma.

Overall, Shaolin Soccer is a film you can't miss, whether or not you like martial arts flicks. Many non-Chinese viewers may not get the jokes, but the rest of the film is all laughs. Forget the U.S. release (which has been moved again; this time to March 2004) - get the Hong Kong DVD instead.

Rating: A

DVD Extras: B+
The DVD features a documentary on the making of Shaolin Soccer, as well as a collection of special effects scenes made by Centro Digital. There are also some scenes not found in the theatrical release, but the DVD won't let you view the director's cut without having to press ENTER when the white icon flashes on the screen. Going back to the main menu is a hassle, as you have to go through the entire intro screen. Audio is in Cantonese or Mandarin (pick Cantonese, as the Mandarin dialogue is not as funny); subtitles are in Chinese (traditional or simplified) or some rather poor English. Despite the horrid grammar, you'll get the idea of the story.

Links
U333's Official Shaolin Soccer Homepage (Chinese)

References
The Internet Movie Database
Wikipedia

Edited by areaseven
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Shaolin Soccer is an awesome flick! Anyone who didn't see it you have to go out and get the HK DVD (I spent 10 bucks on mine). Another excellent review A7! B))

~G25

Edited by gerwalk25
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They actually have a domestic Miramax release already? How did the film got butchered? I watched the HK version a couple years ago, but would like to find out how bad the US release was. Even co-workers of mine who never touch HK movies cracks up so bad on this one. :lol:

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They actually have a domestic Miramax release already? How did the film got butchered? I watched the HK version a couple years ago, but would like to find out how bad the US release was. Even co-workers of mine who never touch HK movies cracks up so bad on this one. :lol:

SPOILER ALERT! Do not read further unless you've seen the film.

1. The film is missing at least 10-15 minutes of footage. Stephen Chow supposedly edited the U.S. version himself.

2. As you know, the original release does not have the following footage:

- In the scene where Sing first meets Mui, his words on Shaolin kung-fu inspire people around the block to dance with him.

- The Shaolin team seriously bag on Mui's makeover. She also defends herself against her boss.

- Bloopers before the ending credits.

You won't see these scenes on the U.S. version.

3. In addition, the U.S. version is missing the following footage:

- Sing and Iron Head's karaoke performance.

- Any scene that has to do with eggs.

- Mui going to the transvestite beautician for her makeover.

4. The original opening sequence is replaced by a different version. Must be as lame as Dimension Films' opening for Supercop.

5. They put black briefs on the enemy goalie when his uniform is shredded by the soccer ball.

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Bah that's too bad.

It's a good thing I have the actual HK VCD release... so I can watch it in all it's original glory.

BTW, I'm been a big fan of Stephen Chow ever since I was a kid... yea he's been around for ever but many of his films are incredibly hilerious (and stupid).

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  • 4 months later...

Hollywood USA:

"HEY GUYS WE NEED SOME MUSIC FOR THE TRAILER OF THAT SHAOLIN SOCCER MOVIE WERE DISTRIBUTING"

"what the hell is shaolin?"

"i dunno"

"isnt it like karate?"

"o yea thats it, shaolin is another word for karate, just like kung fu!"

"KUNG FU! THATS IT! LET'S USE KUNG FU FIGHTING! EVERYONE LOVED IT IN THE 80'S SO THEY MUST STILL LOVE IT!"

*everyone cheers*

Note: I am aware that shaolin is a variation of kung fu, my problem is the completely generic style of advertisement that hollywood has, they didnt even bother using music form the soundtrack in the trailer they just thought of the most "popular" martial arts song they could tihnk of, i bet if kung fu fighitng didnt exist they would have use "turning japanese" just because they are so dumb and unoriginal. many examples of such generic advertisement, such as the commercials for "cheaper by the dozen" they use the song "we are family" which doesnt even have to do with biological family

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When will this be released on DVD here in the states?

dont bother, the american version will be heavily edits with terrible dubbing sure, get the HK version

What he said.... Us Americans over here are still too big headed to take seriously the talent in Asia.

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When will this be released on DVD here in the states?

dont bother, the american version will be heavily edits with terrible dubbing sure, get the HK version

What he said.... Us Americans over here are still too big headed to take seriously the talent in Asia.

thats cuz in america 'talent' is made of silicone or cg

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My first impression of Shaolin Soccer is that they put in the ugliest actors, the ugliest clothes, and the most disgusting mannerism that they can get away with. Almost couldn't bear to watch all the way.

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which one is the HK version? and do they sell it on ebay?

well unless you have a multiregion dvd player you wont be able to play an official non-american dvd in which case you'll have to buy a bootleg, dont worry tho, the bootleg with be an exact copy of the real dvd except it will play in any dvds player, but there might not be any extras, check on ebay or check www.animeniacs.net they have alot of bootleg dvds

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oh and mod's, i am fully aware that discussing bootlegging and downloading of liscenced material is discouraged here, but i tihnk an exception can be made for shaolin soccer as the movie, unedited and in it's original language will probably never be available here

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definitely, judging by the description and price i would guess it will have no extras, but that's normal, i have actually only seen 1 bootlegging group that also incorporated the extra sinto their dvds

I usually don't care about the extras, since I almost never watch them, but as long as the whole movie is there in good quality, good enough for me. :)

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Isn't it about time that there's a Shaolin Soccer Video Game? What sparked my intrest for a game was during a review on X-play of Frestyle Soccer for X-Box, I think it got a 2 out of 5. It's like NBA Street but with soccer and the stylized, over the top moves are similar to Shaolin's.

Plus I have a few ideas for a Shaolin Soccer game.

-Have it take place after the events of the film. i.e Shaolin Kung-Fu is successfully fused with Soccer!

-Free Play Mode

-Training Mode

-Story Mode

-Tournament Mode

-Create a team Mode

-Unlockables like Cast Interviews and Outtakes

-String "Attack's" for points like NBA Street vol.2

-A "Final Attack" string deserves a cut scene

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  • 3 months later...

The R1 has the original cut of the film in Cantonese. But for you sound nuts, the Cantonese DTS track is not present like on the Universe DVD.

Speaking of the Universe HK DVD, I still have that sealed copy that's collecting dust in my dresser for over a year. It's still for sale, and I assure you all it is not the bootleg version. PM me if interested.

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