Feb 27, 2012

Wiwille's movie reviews part 88

There used to be a time when someone would email me stating how they recently came across a great film and would like my take on it. Usually I would end up loving it and in some cases adding it to my collection. Gone are those days as now it seems readers seem to enjoy sending me crap films to watch, who I imagine were wringing their hands and belting out an evil cackle as they made their submission.

I'm a sucker for sports films, whether they be criminally underrated (Cinderella Man, Friday Night Lights), or crowd pleasing, if not saccahrine, romps (Miracle, Rocky, Victory, The Karate Kid). Even at their worst, sports films can be enjoyable as they highlight how dedication to a game can bring out the best in us. To see someone over come obstacles is always a good way to sell tickets, and the formula has worked for so many years the genre won't seem to die soon.

Enter "Shaolin Soccer" which takes an interesting twist on the genre. Set in some city in China, "Shaolin Soccer" tells the story of a disgraced former soccer player who meets a Kung Fu expert and is impressed with how can kick objects that destroy anything in it's path. Inspired by this, he decides to create his own soccer team to compete against his rival, a cigar chomping rich guy who soley exists to do evil to all.

High flying stunts ensue, CGI is implemented, and mildly amusing antics on and off the field are plentiful. The ragged looking team, who seem to have a talent for the martial arts, defy all odds as they work their way through the tournament and become crowd pleasers.

There's really no plot to this film, and it may be the richer for it. A stronger, less ridiculous story in this may have been distracting to the visual treat this film delivers. All of the characters are pretty one dimensional, especially the villian, and I'm hard pressed to recall the name of any of them. There's a few martial arts film references in here, most notably Bruce Lee's "Game of Death", or whichever one it was. I'm sure there giving praise to a lot of other films that I have no idea even exist, so that didn't help my enjoyment of the film. There's a love interest that adds very little, if anything.

"Shaolin Soccer" does have its moments; however few they may be. The Kung Fu soccer is impressive looking and you'll like the matches, if only for about ten minutes. Soccer fans, and martial arts fans alike, may enjoy this, but to anyone else I can't reccomend this.

Thanks to Karin for submitting this. Wanna see a film reviewed by Wiwille? Drop me an email or comment and you'll see it soon on One Bad Apple. Rules are posted here.

"Not the classic it claims to be" - Joe Utichi

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