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Hong Kong, 2001 (MIFF 2003, Fu Fighters)

Director: Stephen Chow

Painfully funny, gloriously over the top, saturated wrth FX, wire work and outrageous fu, Shaolin Soccer is a comic triumph. A disgraced, partially crippled and washed up soccer coach has been reduced to spit-shining his sleazy boss's shoes. Mumbling, half-drunk and extremely bitter, he encounters a naive former Shaoiin monk, now with a not so lucrative career collecting garbage.

After initial animosity the pair concoct a hare­brained scheme to combine Shaoiin kung fu artistry wrth modem soccer techniques to rocket a team to the top of the Hong Kong league ladder. Assembling a motley crew of fellow disgraced monks—now overweight, neurotic or homeless—Golden Leg Fung and brother Sing lead them on a journey through stupidity to victory.

Broad slapstick sits alongside clever verbal jousting, the lot coloured with enough cutting-edge special effects to sate the appetite of the most hardened CGI junkie. The references to everything from Saving Private Ryan to The Matrix further enhance the comic insanity. The combination of the underdog sports film with the martial arts fantasy means you should come prepared to cheer and chuckle all the way!

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