Thursday, January 10, 2008

Shaolin Soccer

Shaolin Soccer
Computer generated special effects have seldom been so giddy as in Shaolin Soccer, a gleeful fusion of kung fu and a classic Bad News Bears sports story. A former soccer star--whose "golden leg" was broken by a hired mob--assembles a team of former students of Shaolin martial arts, whose assorted skills (indicated by their nicknames, like Mighty Steel Leg and Iron Head) lend themselves to the swift interplay of the world's most popular game. Along the way, the team's leader (Hong Kong comic superstar Stephen Chow) meets a sticky bun baker (Vicki Zhao) whose kung fu is the equal of any of his teammates. Shaolin Soccer is supremely silly--in the final match, their opponents are called Team Evil--but that's part of the fun. American movies rarely achieve this perfect balance of the absurd and the sincere. A delight. --Bret Fetzer

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