(This is the Shaolin Soccer film review, which is a 2001 kungfu action comedy soccer film directed by Stephen Chow and featuring Zhao Wei)
We are now reviewing yet another classic Hong Kong movie that features two of the biggest stars in the Chinese Cinema industry. This film has Stephen Chow and is also directed by him, and Zhao Wei, one of the four top actresses in China. As well as having a cast of Hong Kong cinema veterans such as Ng Man Tat, Wong Yat Fei, and Tin Kai Man. With a premise that is filled to the brim with Chow’s ‘Mo Lei Tau‘ comedy and also some Kung Fu actions, how would this movie fare in the eyes of 2018? Take a look at the Shaolin Soccer film review below to find out!
When a Shaolin Monk Sing who has lost his Master and is now living mortal lives meet with a retired former soccer player, the pair forms a relationship that aims to create an ultimate soccer team to enter a Hong Kong cup competition. Sing aims to promote the Shaolin martial art to the masses and believe that soccer is the right medium for it. He recruits his other brothers to form a team, and also falls in love with a Mantou-making girl at the roadside. However, they may have to face a lot of trials in order to win in both the matches and love. Could they do it?
Shaolin Soccer Film Review
Shaolin Soccer’s premise is just like any of Chow’s films, it means that the story itself is basically quite nonsensical and most of the time does not have any significant moral lessons or big twists at the end. However, this is precisely his ‘Mo Lei Tau’ story style which works in his favour. In a way, storytelling is never his forte, but it helps in bringing out his signature comedic scenes with such a story. Pacing wise, it’s pretty good as the film keeps introducing new characters and enemies, and coupled with several comedic scenes and kung fu scenes, you will not feel bored at the slightest. The romance part helps during the slow moments as well.
The characters are very interesting, as each of them is given some sort of nickname and personality such as Iron Head and Mighty Steel Leg etc, which makes them very recognisable and distinctive. What’s more, they are all portrayed by veteran comedy actors which helps in bringing out more personality. Zhao Wei is a great actress as well in depicting a sad lonely girl who wants to gain Sing’s love, and her acting as a romantic interest is just brilliant. The antagonists, though, is a bit of a letdown as he is just now as memorable compared to the rest of the characters. What I love about this film is also the CGI and some of the comedic scenes which just make it different from others of the same genre not directed by Chow. Each of them is actually pretty well done considering that it was released more than a decade ago, and their standards are high for a Chinese production at that time. Lastly, the soundtracks are some mixtures of Shaolin theme songs and some oldies songs that Hong Konger enjoy in those time period, albeit that it can feel a little old today. Nevertheless, they are of decent quality that fit the theme and mood of the film.