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Shaolin Soccer

Kick some grass! 

Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: It is expected that this film is fully subtitled. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Shaolin Soccer

Sing (Chow) and his 5 brothers are struggling with life; failing to maintain their menial jobs, hair and dignity. Rather than staying in school they were brought up learning Shaolin Kung Fu, but in the modern urban world their skills are obsolete, and the brothers have forgotten their ways; all except Sing, who still trains his "iron leg" whilst collecting garbage, and this is where he meets dejected limping soccer coach Golden Leg Hung. Hung eventually sees the great football potential of Shaolin Kung Fu, and together they form a football team with Sing's variably skilled brothers. The Shaolin team enter the football league, which is under the control of Fung (Ng), a former teammate of Hung and general bad guy.

The romance element comes from Mui (Zhao), a dermatologically challenged chef who uses very advanced Tai Chi to make steamed bread, the sight of which instantly induces Sing to burst into song to express his admiration. Their romance develops very sweetly, with his affection slowly bringing out her self-esteem.

Shaolin Soccer is a very funny film; its humour benefits from the film not taking itself seriously, so events can be taken to extremes; like when the metaphor of football as a battle becomes a reality. There are also many in-jokes referring to previous Kung Fu films and things outside the film, like Chow's personal life.

The film is saturated in special effects, mostly of the football itself, which are combined with the brilliant choreography so that both the human and computer acting flow together smoothly. This makes the football scenes highly entertaining; for example at one kick by Sing the ball becomes a fiery puma sprinting through the air. Yet behind the comedy this is a feel good film about underdogs fighting for their self-esteem and dignity against the fat cats.

Whilst you may not be celebrating the fact that Kung Fu and football have finally been united in a film, the two go together very well. This is a superb Kung Fu romantic comedy that you'd enjoy watching.

Nick Grills

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Screenings of this film:

2004/2005 Spring Term (35mm)