Shaolin Soccer (Cantonese
title: Siu lam juk kau) is an action comedy film starring action star Stephen (Sing-Chi) Chow
. Chow plays a student of kung fu who is recruited by a former soccer player to use his talents to play soccer and win a championship. Chow is famous for making hilarious kung fu
movies, and Shaolin Soccer is no exception. This writeup will contain major spoilers
, so don't say I didn't warn you.
Chow's character, Sing, was a student of a talented master. He studied under him along with several of his Shaolin brothers. Before the master passed away, he told his disciples to continue practicing the art, and spread it among the population. When the master died, the promise was lost. Each brother went on a different path through life. Then, on one fateful day, Sing got into a fight with a gang.
Sing's master taught him to never hurt people with his kung fu skills. Instead, Sing made use of a soccer ball to kick the crap out of the gang. He doesn't kick ass in a breath-taking Jackie Chan way, though. This entire movie is more like a live action cartoon than a classic kung fu movie. Fung, a former soccer player, notices this and wants to teach Sing to play soccer. Sing suggests that he get all of his Shaolin brothers together to form a team.
In order to play soccer, says Fung, Sing will need to get shoes. But Sing already traded in his shoes at a store. He goes back to the store, and a girl named Mui has patched them up for him. She will become important later.
Each Shaolin brother has stopped training their special skills. Sixth Small Brother, for instance, has become extremely fat and lazy. He can no longer fly. Iron Head and Sing (whose special power is his blazingly fast legs) are the only ones who have retained their talent. Fung gets them together and teaches them how to "Kick the soccer" correctly, and each brother remembers his secret power. The brothers have crazy powers which help them along, like Sing's kicks, Iron Head's iron head (didn't see that one coming, eh?), flying, and one guy who can hold on to the ball with his stomach. Another brother does breakdancing style moves to kick the ball around. At goalie, the team has a guy with super fast hands.
Then we see the owner of the Evil Team (and yes, that's actually what it's called), who is developing a team of supermen to win the next soccer tournament, the prize of which is a million dollars. Next, we see the Shaolin Team in a scrimmage against a gang. Sing says, "I am not coming to be fighting. I am coming to be playing soccer." However, the game quickly turns into a fight. The brothers get beaten severely before using their skills to hit everyone with the soccer ball. Then they enter the tournament, basically destroying everyone using their various skills. The guy who can hold on to the ball with his stomach even takes it and goes for a football touchdown-style score at one point. Everything was fine until they met the Evil Team in the finals.
The Evil Team was using a super medication in order to have skills like the Shaolin Team. For every brother that has a special skill, the Evil Team has one that surpasses him. The Evil Team eventually lines up around the poor Shaolin Team goalie, and he suffers a ton of abuse. He had to come out of the game, because the Evil Team was kicking so hard. The Evil Team was kicking so hard, in fact, that when the goalie made a save, he flew into the crossbar and was bleeding badly and several of his bones had been broken. In the process of saving goals, many brothers got injured.
At halftime, the Shaolin Team got the bright idea that they should put the guy who could hold onto the ball with his stomach in goal. The Evil Team eventually surrounded him, and he used his cell phone and called somebody named Chun to let her know he loved her. He withstood a bunch of hard shots, and eventually the Evil Team was kicking so hard, the ball caught on fire. This happened several times. Then, the ball was hit so hard that it tore his uniform off. He was bleeding badly, and eventually somebody kicked it so hard that he went through the net and all the way through the boards at the edge of the field. He, too, was taken to the hospital.
Now the Shaolin Team was in trouble. So many of them had become injured that they did not have the minimum amount of players necessary to continue. So, Mui shows up to play goal. The Evil Team fires a shot at her, which she stops with some kind of magic power. Then, she starts spinning it really fast. She throws it up for Sing to kick, and he starts spinning around in the air, building momentum. He then delivers the kick, which knocks over a bunch of people, tears up the turf, nearly kills the goalie, and destroys the goal. The Shaolin Team is victorious.
Sing has completed his goal, as well. In the streets, everybody is applying their new found kung fu knowledge, which he helped make popular. The movie closes with a picture of Sing and Mui on the cover of Time Magazine, with the headline "Kung Fu Couple."
This movie truly has to be seen to be believed. The ridiculous way soccer is played in the movie, as well as the funny things that happen on the side, are pure genius. This, as well as the extremely poor translation, make Shaolin Soccer one of the funniest movies Stephen Chow has ever made.