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Shaolin Soccer

Released on: 05 Jul 2001 • Rated: PG • Runtime: 87 min

Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy

Director: Stephen Chow
Writer: Stephen Chow, Kan-Cheung Tsang, Min-Hun Fung
Actors: Stephen Chow, Wei Zhao, Yat-Fei Wong

Plot: A young Shaolin follower reunites with his discouraged brothers to form a soccer team using their martial art skills to their advantage.

Box Office Gross: $489,600

Awards: 12 wins & 19 nominations








“Shaolin Soccer,” released in 2001, is a film that masterfully blends martial arts, sports, and comedy, creating an entertaining and unique cinematic experience. Directed by Stephen Chow, who also stars in the lead role, this Hong Kong film became an international sensation for its inventive use of special effects, humor, and a heartwarming story.

Plot Overview

The film follows Sing (Stephen Chow), a Shaolin kung fu master who dreams of popularizing Shaolin kung fu in the modern world. His path crosses with Fung (Ng Man-tat), a former soccer star, and together they form a soccer team comprising Sing’s former Shaolin brothers. The plot is a delightful fusion of a sports underdog story with martial arts fantasy, as the team uses their extraordinary skills to ascend the ranks of a national soccer tournament.

Character Dynamics

Stephen Chow’s portrayal of Sing is both humorous and endearing, capturing the character’s earnestness and martial arts prowess. Ng Man-tat, as Fung, provides a perfect comedic foil and mentor figure. The chemistry among the team members, each bringing their unique Shaolin skills to the game, adds to the film’s charm. The characters are exaggerated yet relatable, and their development throughout the film underscores themes of teamwork, perseverance, and belief in oneself.

Cinematography and Visuals

“Shaolin Soccer” is visually striking, employing a blend of practical martial arts and CGI to create the over-the-top soccer matches that are central to the film. The action sequences are choreographed with a blend of realism and fantasy, making the soccer matches exhilarating to watch. The use of special effects enhances the comedic and fantastical elements of the film without overshadowing the skill of the performers.

Comedy and Action

The film excels in its seamless integration of comedy and action. Stephen Chow’s signature style of humor, known as “mo lei tau,” is prevalent throughout, characterized by slapstick, puns, and visual gags. The action sequences are equally impressive, showcasing the physicality and versatility of Shaolin kung fu in a context that is both humorous and awe-inspiring.

Soundtrack and Score

The soundtrack of “Shaolin Soccer” complements its energetic and upbeat tone. The music ranges from traditional Chinese scores during the martial arts scenes to more contemporary tracks that underscore the soccer matches. The score effectively enhances both the comedic and dramatic moments of the film.


In conclusion, “Shaolin Soccer” is a film that stands out for its originality, humor, and thrilling action sequences. It’s a testament to Stephen Chow’s genius as a filmmaker and actor, showcasing his ability to blend genres and create a film that is both culturally specific and universally appealing. The film’s message about the importance of following one’s dreams and the power of teamwork resonates with audiences of all ages. “Shaolin Soccer” is not just a sports movie or a martial arts film; it’s a unique cinematic experience that entertains and inspires, making it a must-watch for fans of both genres.

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