Former shaolin monk Sing goes on a quest to spread the ways of Shaolin kung fu to the world in the 2001 Hong Kong film Shaolin Soccer. When Sing crosses paths with the game of soccer, what ensues is high flying action and laughs in this mix martial arts and comedy in this flick directed and starring Hong Kong director Stephen Chow.
The ways of soccer and kung fu cross each other when the down on his luck Sing(played by Stephen Chow) meets soccer coach Fung. Him being a man who once was a famed soccer player but suffered a career ending leg injury at the hands of rival soccer player Hung. Right from the beginning we are treated to the super natural like skills of Sing. This is achieved through very stylized and cartoon like CGI. Shaolin Soccer uses numerous slap stick comedy routines when displaying martial arts high flying action. Along with Fung the soccer coach, Sing tries to convince his former shaolin monk brothers to join him in forming a soccer team. All have seemed to move on to regular lives but decide to use their kung fu skills after having an impromptu soccer match with a local team. Each shaolin brother has their own individual skills. Such as the Mighty Iron Head who can withstand hard strikes to his head. Eventually the Shaolin soccer team rises among the ranks of the tournament they have entered to battle the simply named evil team led by the evil rival Hung. Along the way the Sing falls for the steamed bread maker Mui. A woman who uses her abilities in Tai Chi to prepare food with exact precision. These skills of her would become useful later on in the shaolin teams soccer games.
In every aspect Shaolin Soccer is comical fun. The laughs are nonstop and constant throughout this movie. Sing’s actions seem to always include exaggerated emotions, like singing loudly in public when he praises Mui’s bread making. The setting and characters themselves are simplistic and humorous in nature. The good guys are dedicated to their and the bad guys are up to no good. The leader of the evil soccer team himself acts like a cheesy super villain. This battle of good versus evil includes many fast and sometimes fiery soccer balls, along with some earth shattering force. The aerial combat occurring throughout the soccer games played include some magnificent wide shots that do well deserved justice to the martial arts action.
Though it has simple characters, it in no way hinders the film from making us feel the characters’ emotions. We are made to feel sympathy for the down trodden Shaolin brothers in the beginning as they struggle with their unfulfilling lives. Such as Sixth little brother, who has become over weight and is nick named “lazy pig” at the supermarket he works at. Likewise, we cheer them on as they make their rise through the soccer ranks and the grand, epic match in the finale. Overall I would definitely call
Shaolin Soccer a feel good movie.
This film is one that is funny from start to finish. I think it can be appreciated by even those who may not regularly watch Hong Kong films, or for that matter watch soccer. This is a great movie to give laughs to anybody manages to catch a glimpse.