Indie & Foreign

A bubblegum-flavored sports comedy filled with amusing special effects.

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None of the scenes in this film are boring. There’s always something fun waiting around the corner. The action is nicely scattered here and there, just enough to give some time for character and story development in-between. The whole plot concerning the creation of a sports team full of colorful individuals has already been used quite often already, but who cares? This movie has no pretention whatsoever.

One thing I love is the CGI. They use it fearlessly in this film. There’s a strong Captain Tsubasa influence here. Unsurprisingly, the movie often feels like a cartoon, which is, of course, a good thing. After all, cartoons hold the power of unlimited possibilities.

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[do action=”moment” emo=”Creative” title=”You don’t know Stephen Chow yet? Here we go.”/]

Mighty Steel Leg, played by Stephen Chow, who also happens to be the director for this film, describes how kung fu could be helpful at overcoming everyday problems. The montage, which uses a wide and colorful palette of special effects, immediately sets the tone of the film. With such wackiness allowed and even encouraged by Stephen Chow, the film arms itself with a handful of surprising stunts.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Awkward” title=”California Dreamin’.”/]

Mighty Steel Leg sings a pretty peculiar cover of the famous Mamas & The Papas song with his brother, Iron Head. Of course, it has no relevance whatsoever to the main plot. And that’s what makes it hilarious. And also very awkward.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Fun” title=”Gathering the brothers.”/]

Sing finds his brothers, asking them to join the soccer team. They all have their own dysfunctional personalities, which makes them all unique and funny. My personal favorite is Iron Shirt (Tin Kai-man). The guy is desperately attempting to fool others into believing he’s living the fruitful life of a wealthy businessman, but it’s all too obvious he’s just as poor and as miserable as his siblings.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Batshit” title=”A practice game turns into World War Three.”/]

I don’t know about you, but watching Sing ending up throwing grenades and firing at the enemy when he was supposed to play a simple soccer game is pretty damn funny and original. It’s this kind of over-the-top insanity that makes Chow’s films so fun to watch; you never know what’s going to happen next!

[do action=”moment” emo=”Disgusting” title=”Mui.”/]

Mui’s face is quite similar to the surface of planet Mars. If you’re a Critic’s Remote fan, you’ve probably read our review of Dune; well, I’m having a hard time deciding which one has the worst skin issues, Mui or Baron Harkonnen. OK, maybe Mui is a nice girl and all, so we can spare her the comparison with an utterly despicable fat, floating man from space.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Disgusting” title=”Mui’s makeover.”/]

I’m not sure which one was the ugliest… Acne Mui or 80s drag queen Mui? One thing’s for sure, Sing is truly ignorant when it comes to deciphering a girl’s feelings, and witnessing his complete lack of touch is both funny and sad at the same time. Okay, I admit I laughed until my lungs blew up. Sing is such a dumbass. He friendzoned the crap out of Mui.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Fun” title=”More computer-generated insanity! Yay!”/]

As the tournament begins, the Shaolin Soccer team clashes with multiple adversaries. They all have their own style and powers, so we’re served with a CGI feast at every corner.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Predictable” title=”Team Evil is cheating.”/]

Well, with a name like Team Evil, you had to expect them to be evil, I guess. Still, in any sports movie with a touch of humor, the opposing team always does something reprehensible. Here, they are using an “American drug.” I reckon it’s a fair jab at USA’s multiple steroid scandals.

[do action=”moment” emo=”Predictable” title=”Team Evil is too strong!”/]

Shaolin Soccer and Team Evil face each other in the finals and, predictably enough, Team Evil proves to be superior and appears to be unbeatable. Of course, you wouldn’t want the game to be a walk in the park, right?

[do action=”moment” emo=”Triumphant” title=”Mui saves the day!”/]

As our heroes are about to admit a cruel defeat, Mui comes in as replacement and manages to destroy the entire Team Evil with her kung fu/baker powers! And inexplicably, Sing ends up falling in love with her. I guess he has a thing for bald girls?

Shaolin Soccer (2001)

Shaolin Soccer has all the right ingredients for a friendly comedy. It's simple and goofy. It has a cartoony CGI that fits really well with the lighthearted humor. And since we have to deal with Stephen Chow's humor, you know you're up for an invigorating session of pure fun.


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