Last night, I spent an evening centered around about 90 minutes of mindless entertainment. With chips and salsa, even.
I watched a Netflix movie, which had been recommended by Stryder and his wife a long time ago. I don't watch a lot of movies, and I kept bumping others to the top of the queue, but I finally watched Shaolin Soccer. It was really good. I had to pay attention, too, because it was in Chinese, with English subtitles.
It's the story of "Golden Leg" Fung, a has-been soccer star who decides to field a team for a $1,000,000 prize tournament. He befriends a gone-to-seed Kung-fu master who enlists his gone-to-seed Kung-Fu master brothers, though not without difficulty. Stephen Chow (who also co-wrote and directed the film) is "Mighty Steel Leg" whose mission it is to teach the world about Shaolin king fu. He tries a song and dance routine, but it doesn't work.
The humor is very tongue in cheek. When Mighty Steel Leg meets Mui, he has no money to pay for her divinely made sticky buns, and leaves his old sneakers as collateral. She patches them with "Hello Kitty" patches. She is scarred from acne, but has a beautiful soul, and makes heavenly sticky buns using her gifts as a kung fu master (mistress?). But after her heart is broken, her tears turn them salty and bitter. She loses her job and disappears...for a time.
Anyway, each brother has a kung fu power, not unlike a super power. When Fung brings the team to practice, the biggest challenge is getting them to control their powers and play as a team.
Their first game is against Team Rebellion. It looks like a reasonable group, until, during an introductory handshake, a large crescent wrench falls out of the captain's shorts and hits the ground with a clang. "Oh...," he says, "...I'm, uh, a...mechanic....I'm...I'm on call."
Lines like that had me laughing out loud throughout this movie.
All the soccer scenes are, as expected, way over the top, with every blatant dirty trick possible brought out. Players fly. The ball turns to flame, or bends the goalpost.
Their final game is against Team Evil, owned and coached by Hung, Golden Leg Fung's rival from the old days. Team Shaolin is nearly decimated by Team Evil...until...
Anyway, I've seen this movie compared to "The Karate Kid." I don't get the comparison. First of all, "The Karate Kid" was meant to be serious, whereas "Shaolin Soccer" is very much tongue in cheek. The only comparison is that it's an underdog movie, and as such can be compared just as appropriately to "The Bad News Bears" and hundreds of other underdog movies.
If you're up for a silly, very entertaining movie, you should give this one a try.
For much more detail and cast description, go to Wikipedia.