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Home Entertainment in Shaolin Soccer

Published September 26, 2004 in MOVIE REVIEW
By Ryan Parsons | Pictures from Mirimax
Shaolin Soccer

The film is entertaining to say the least. But, to you must understand that the film never takes itself seriously.
I was finally given the opportunity to watch the movie Shaolin Soccer, directed by Steven Chow and released by Miramax [to the states]. To start, this film is not for everybody. If you take your movies seriously and are upset if they do not even take themselves seriously, than you probably will hate this film. Unless, of course, you love soccer. Shaolin's entire purpose is to be silly while showing off cool film choriagraphy and special effects. Chow's ability to pay attention to little details amidst the action, however, is probably this film's greatest strength.

Sometimes Its Just the Little Things

While the movie does remain to be pretty silly through out its entire viewing, it does have some cool camera work along the way. Chow takes the time to have the camera catch details of the grass kicking up from cleats running across the ground and soccer balls that are flying at unrealistic speeds. I believe most people will find the girth of the entertainment within the camera work and the special effects applied to the sport of soccer. Some effects you could expect to see include a player being able to hit a target with a soccer ball one hundred yards away and a ball being kicked so hard that flames erupt off of it as it morphs into a jungle cat.

*If any of you have seen the foreign film Ping Pong and enjoyed it, you will most definitely enjoy Shaolin Soccer. Ping Pong only tapped the potential of 'extreme-special-effects-applied-to-simple-sport,' while Shaolin Soccer takes the premise to a whole other level. Shaolin made up for where Ping Pong let me down.

Cantonese Serves Up a Strange Sense of Humor

Again, even though this film is meant to be humorous, I rarely laughed at what was put in front of me on the screen. But this does not mean I didn't enjoy the film. Well, I enjoyed the second half; I could watch the latter half segment of this film over and over. The first half of the film, however, spent too much time trying to develop characters. This fact was especially annoying because this is one of those movies where the characters do not matter that much. What Shaolin Soccer tries to do, during the first half of the film, is show that these kung-fu brothers and master are all pretty down on their luck and have forgotten their ancient art; all, except for the main character. This character spends the first half of the film trying to get his master and brothers to join him on a professional soccer team. Bla bla bla. When he finally does achieve this goal, the movie picks up and becomes very enjoyable as you watch very interesting special effects applied within the sport of soccer.

Shaolin Soccer
Not your ordinary soccer match.
Another great aspect of this film is that your whole family can watch it and be amused in some way or another. As always, I suggest watching every foreign film with subtitles instead of the English dubbing. This is the only way to get the true feel of a film. However, if you have young children that cannot read that fast, then you can always apply the dubbing included with the DVD.

Final Judgment: This movie is entertaining to say the least. You should enjoy all the work put into the film and then some... only with a few speed bumps along the way [especially in the beginning]. B

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Compiled By (Sources)
Ryan Parsons
Sources: Pictures from Mirimax

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