Shaolin Soccer

Fireball Soccer FTW!

Main Cast: Stephen Chow, Vicky Zhao Wei, Ng Man-Tat, Alan Tam

Director: Stephen Chow

A profoundly silly film, I couldn’t help but grin the first time our hero showed up on the screen. And I kept that grin through the entire movie. Fast-paced and relentlessly cheerful, it mixes hyperkinetic jawing with bone-crushing impacts on the field. No sane Soccer Mom would send their kid out to be beat up and blown away by these goofy wonders, but the fantastic violence is so over the top as to be in the realm of parody.

Team Evil (yes, that is their name) is the best Soccer team in China. But a former water boy by the name of Fung (Man-Tat) thinks they can be beat. Formerly known as “Golden Leg”, he has a reason to take down the evil cheaters: he was tricked out of the game long ago by their cigar-chomping owner. And his leg was broken to boot.

While Fung simmers, our hero Sing (Chow) is scraping by with beat-up shoes and a dream. He wants to bring Shaolin kung-fu to the masses: he is convinced that this martial arts can be used by anybody, everybody in their daily lives. But so far all his schemes have turned out to be disasters.

So. it’s inevitable that these two wrecks would meet. And, slowly, they bring their two loves together: soccer and Shaolin. But Sing is just one person: where can they find a team? Well: his brothers! All trained in Shaolin by their deceased father, all have boring jobs and secretly yearn to practice their martial arts again.

Yes, Sing and his team make it to the finals and, yes, they go up against Team Evil. But will I spoil it by telling you who wins? No. But this is a comedy, not a serious drama, and a simple tale well told. I’ll let you guess who wins in the end. But see this film! It’s goofy, charming, and even innocent in its cheerful homage to all underdogs around the world. Good fun, and good stuff.

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