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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Lather's Blather Episode #03: Kick Some Grass!

There can be no second chance when kung-fu is used for evil! I'll discuss Shaolin Soccer, an outrageous and highly-larious action romp that mixes high-flying comedy and the Beautiful Game.

After seeing this, crushing beer cans with your head doesn't quite stack up anymore.

Team Shaolin takes the pitch, their first step towards glory.

Smoking on the pitch is a cardable offense.

"Your free kick skill is weak."

The disgraced "Golden Leg" Fung

"Steel Leg" Sing. He's lithe, and he'll surprise you.

Tai Chi breadmaker Mui.

Weight Vest

Iron Shirt

Iron Head

Hooking Leg

Empty Hand

An early glimpse of Steel Leg's soccer prowess. Too bad he didn't score!

Hung, our villain and magnificent asshole.

Yeah, there's a lot of action like this in the film.

And this too.

This is not how to sell the public on Shaolin kung-fu.

The trailer for the Miramax version of the film. It gives no clue of an English dub and, in my opinion, gives away too much of the film's final match. I took this episode's title from the typically vapid Hollywood tagline.

Here's "Into the Future", performed by Andy Lau.
Nice music video with a few more clips from the film.

Available for direct download and as a streaming file from the Gcast box on the right-hand side of the page.


Dane Scaysbrook said...
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Dane Scaysbrook said...

Yet another superb episode, Jeff!

Be it an Asian character driven film about the toils of life during the cultural revolution or an over the top-comedy epic like "Shaolin Soccer", you can trust the "Swinesteins" to tack on "Kung Fu Fighting" in the soundtrack somewhere. Man, I hate those guys.

I saw Kung Fu Hustle in Hong Kong during it's opening week, there was not a seat free in the whole theatre; Stephen Chow has always been able to bring out box office hits; Thus he was the highest paid actor for a time (Yes, moreso than Jackie Chan) and when you consider his output back in his prime, he'd probably earn a lot more than Hollywood actors did in the early 90's.

When will Hollywood learn? From what I've seen, it seems any tampering with a superior cut of a film (Kingdom of Heaven springs to mind) or releasing a PG-13 sequel to an R Rated Movie (Next Die Hard movie, Conan The Destroyer) guarantees an inferior film that grosses a lot less money. I ask you; Would "300" have earned as much as it did were it PG-13?

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, whilst some detractors have branded it as a film catering to foreign tastes, it was released theatrically, uncut and subtitled in it's original language.

The result? $130 Million in the US alone.

In short, keep as many Asian film properties away from the Swinesteins as possible. Columbia pictures distributed both Kung Fu Hustle and Crouching Tiger (and also provided some funding for these films also).

Stephen Chow's next film, a Sci-Fi film, "A Hope" is set to be released this year, I'll be interested to see how this does; Especially in Mainland China, where Sci-Fi fans can probably be rounded up and put in a single room.

Eeeper said...

In answer to your question about what the running time on the DVD for Shaolin Soccer, I can tell you that until I accidentally sat on the disc, the region 2 DVD has both the craptacular dub and the excellent subtitled version. The running times are 87 and 112 mins respectfully and the extras aren't bad either. Here's an Amazon link and one for the BBC review of it.

Daryl Surat said...

I was always under the impression that Stephen Chow's career was largely dead throughout the 90s until God of Cookery/Shaolin Soccer came along, even though the movies he was making were still pretty awesome. I need to see Tricky Brains again sometime.

What the Weinsteins did to pretty much every Hong Kong movie they got their hands on while part of Miramax was of course, absolutely dreadful. Jet Li's star power in the US was probably the most significantly affected as a result of this. That said, I'm pre-emptively declaring the upcoming film "War" to be the Greatest Movie EVER.

But since forming The Weinstein Company they've been releasing Hong Kong movies under the label Dragon Dynasty, and these releases are quite excellent. Now that they've got both Bey Logan and Quentin Tarantino overseeing things, there's no more of that "renaming the film, cutting 30 minutes, and replacing all the music with hip hop to better appeal to the 'urban' market...pan and scan only, of course" nonsense that kung fu movie fans have had to contend with since the dawn of time. Why, they're even doing domestic releases sourced from the Celestial remastered versions of the Shaw Brothers films! Such as their upcoming release of 36th Chamber of Shaolin, that includes a commentary track by Andy Klein...

...and The RZA...oh, and there's a Wu-Tang Clan video on there. Okay fine, so I guess they can't fully get away from all that stuff, but at least it's not at the expense of the film itself.

Dane Scaysbrook said...

Funnily enough, God Of Cookery was actually a flop in Hong Kong; almost a complete rarity for a Stephen Chow film. Good of Cookery did get a lot of buzz overseas though which is something that started to get Stephen Chow attention in the English speaking world. What did happen was that Stephen Chow went from making four or five films a year, to two a year, one a year and finally one film every few years; Each subsequent film he gained more creative control over his productions. The older Stephen Chow films are always great for a laugh (I own almost all of them, and as Daryl said, Dragon Dynasty end up having some awesome releases, that I usually order my Hong Kong DVD's from outside Hong Kong! I usually order them from Hong Kong Legends, which is kind of the British version of Dragon Dynasty (Bey Logan used to do commentries there before Dragon Dynasty gobbled him up!).

I remember after watching Tricky Brains, I *really* wanted to buy that "I am naked" leotard.

On a sidenote, Bey Logan's commentaries are superb, but get that guy the hell away from producing. "Dragon Squad" is proof enough of that.

Sony_CEO said...

Wow. I'm such a nub. Not only have I not seen this movie but I didn't even realize it is such a cult classic film. I've been disregarding it because I percieved it to be this lame ass inspirational film(similar to Air bud)mostly because of the title of the movie( not Miramax's). I'll put it on my to do list. Great show! Don't blow this hobby off like most people do.

Eeeper said...

Dane Scaysbrook said...

On a sidenote, Bey Logan's commentaries are superb, but get that guy the hell away from producing. "Dragon Squad" is proof enough of that.

So "Naked Weapon" wasn't proof enough? Oh wait. Hang on, Maggie Q is in that! I knew there was a reason I bought it!

Goddamn it Dane! Stop confusing me!

Dane Scaysbrook said...

Ahh of course,

Trivia: The white guy in that got fired from his job (High school English teacher) because the principal discovered him on the DVD!

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