Stephen Chow on the field as a Shaolin kung fu soccer star
Courtesy of http://www.premier.com

Stephen Chow
Courtesy of http://www.premier.com

 

 

Shaolin Soccer Kicks an International Goal

By Sara Stokoe

The comedy/action hit "Shaolin Soccer" kicked the ball out of the Hong Kong arena in 2001, and is set to do the same this month in the United States. This film, which was directed by and stars Stephen Chow, was the highest grossing film of all-time in Hong Kong, earning HK $60 million (U.S. $7.7 million).

It also won multiple awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Visual Effects at the 2002 Hong Kong film awards.

Due to its amazing success, Hollywood's Miramax bought the film to dub in English and release in the U.S. in August of this year. According to http://www.dailyvariety.com, the U.S. version is without all of the comic outtakes that closed the movie, but no major scenes were deleted from the film.

One difference though, which reflects the injection of Americanism, is the opening scene. In the original version, the film opens with a "quiet, atmospheric" locker room, whereas the Miramax version opens in the midst of an intense soccer game, clearly displaying America's love for action rather than emotion.

You don't want to miss this truly unique film that according to Derek Elley of Daily Variety should "finally establish the Hong Kong comedian (Chow) outside of East Asia."

The film begins with soccer star Fung, played by Ng Mang-tat, accepting a bribe to lose a game by missing a penalty kick. But when he carries out the deal, the outraged fans rush the field and beat him to a crippled pulp. The movie then skips ahead twenty years where Fung is living a miserable existence working as a disrespected lackey for the "Evil Team." But his luck turns when he meets Sing (played by Chow) who is a Shaolin Kung Fu fighter-turned-trash man. The two cook up a plan to reunite Sing's former Shaolin buddies who are also living pathetic unhappy lives after abandoning their art, and with the help of Fung, form a Kung Fu style soccer team to challenge the chemically enhanced ballers on the "Evil Team" for the national championship title.

This film ingeniously combines the international sport of soccer, the ancient art of Shaolin, comedy, action and even special effects, which play a major role in this film. The digital effects were done by Hong Kong based company Centro and according to Derek Elley of Daily Variety, have an "appealingly cartoonish flavor." J.D. Nguyen of http://www.kfccinema.com seemed to agree stating, "the subtle detailing in each glowing and beautifully sculpted effects are reminiscent of Japanese anime in the sense of style and ambient flavor."

If you're looking for a good laugh, mark your calendars for August 15th, 2003, the wide release date currently set for "Shaolin Soccer." You don't want to miss this truly unique film that according to Derek Elley of Daily Variety should "finally establish the Hong Kong comedian (Chow) outside of East Asia."

August 1, 2003



 

 

© APMN, Tom Plate.