Miscellanea and Ephemeron
04/26/2004 Archived Entry: "Film review: Shaolin Soccer"
I liked "Shaolin Soccer" even though the pacing got on my nerves occasionally, but that might be more my problem than the film's. There were things I would have liked to have gone on and on (spontaneous synchronized Shaolin disco dancing in the street) and things that could have been shorter (like one bizarre conversation at the end). Part of the problem was that I could never settle down into what kind of film I was expecting to see from scene to scene because the film never quite settles down into one thing from scene to scene.
This film was kind of a cross between a Kung Fu movie, a Spaghetti Western, a male redemption film, a buddy film, a Cinderella story, and a bunch of (seemingly, but they're not) losers playing soccer. There is also a sweet, but goofy romance in the middle of it all and a refreshing take on female beauty. (Big hint: it comes from within.) Oh, and "Shaolin Soccer" is also a sermonette on courage, loyalty, teamwork, and all that good sporting stuff like that. I'm not sure why, but there are two rather heavy-handed images of the yin yang symbol in this film that I keep thinking about, and that alone makes it worth the admission price for me. I might even have to go see it again.
Some very, very funny bits and some in-jokes that were so far in, I'd have to reincarnate as a Hong Kong hipster to understand. When I think of all those years of reading "Giant Robot"... I've only scratched the surface.
I think this will have a long life as a midnight show (do they still have those?) where people can be more relaxed and yell at the screen in the flat spots. However, in case it doesn't make the midnight show scene, go see it now before it vanishes. Just be patient with it.
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