Having helmed the phenomenal 2004 success Kung Fu Hustle it's clear that Stephen Chow has a golden fist when it comes to making money from movies. But three years earlier, when Hustle was a mere twinkle in director/screenwriter/actor Chow's eye, the talented eastern superstar - for superstar the guy most certainly is - led another project... Shaolin Soccer. So, how do the two movies compare? Well, in some ways they are similar as both revolve around master exponents of Kung Fu, and both movies benefit from a large helping of humour. However, where Hustle is clearly a major blockbuster of a film, Shaolin Soccer has more earthy roots.
Stephen Chow plays Sing, Brother No. 5 - a man who appears down on his luck, skint, scavenging for food and with a solitary pair of severely worn sneakers to his name. Sing is looking for an angle, desperately searching for a way to incorporate his Kung Fu skills into a money making exercise. Perhaps his latest idea of a singing Kung Fu duet will be a turning point? Erm, I don't think so! No, it turns out that Sing's niche is his footballing skills and along with his “brothers”, Iron Head, Hooking Leg, Empty Hand, Weight Vest and Iron Shirt a soccer team is born. And with these guy's individual abilities this team could be going places!
Sadly, I thought the movie's humour came across as basic and flat. The storyline is simplistic, to say the least, and when compared to Kung Fu Hustle it's clear that Shaolin Soccer was made with the hope of being a stepping stone to better things. Regarded as such it's an ok movie. As a film project standing on its own two feet - it's kind of... dull.
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