Shaolin Soccer (2001) Poster


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In North America, this film received a significant following through pirated copies and Internet downloads, because an official release was never issued. Miramax's refusal to release this movie for nearly two years only strengthened the underground word of mouth, as cinephiles searched high and low for copies of the film.
Stephen Chow said he was inspired by the animated series Captain Tsubasa (1983).
Stephen Chow dubbed his own voice for the American release.
This film is banned in mainland China because it did not await certification before being released in Hong Kong.
This film was referenced in Stephen Chow's next film, Kung Fu Hustle (2004). During his first appearance in that film, Chow encounters a few boys playing a game of soccer. He stomps on a soccer ball after doing a few tricks, deflating it, and yells, "No more soccer!"
In the Italian version, all main characters are dubbed by professional soccer players (Damiano Tommasi, Vincent Candela, Marco Delvecchio, Sinisa Mihajlovic, Giuseppe Pancaro, and Angelo Peruzzi.)
All of the "bullet time"-like effects in this film were done by only two motion picture cameras, and all the "still" frames were generated with a computer.
Mui's makeover in the middle of the film is a parody of Hong Kong actress Anita Mui's appearance during the 1980s.
Mui is the only character who can speak Mandarin.
In the beginning of the movie, when young Fung (Golden Leg) misses the goal, the scoreboard shows both team names, Universe (distributor) and The Star (production company).
The line, "It's only an illusion, you can't scare me!" said by the Team Puma Leader (Vincent Kok) is in reference to Stephen Chow's earlier film, Sik san (1996), in which Kok also says this line to Chow.
In order to appear as if her head was shaved, Wei Zhao had to sit in the makeup chair for eight to ten hours each day.
This was one of three Chinese films acquired by Miramax in 2002 for major U.S. distribution, following the success of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000). The other films were Ying xiong (2002) and Zu Warriors (2001). In April 2004, this film was given a limited U.S. theatrical release. Hero (2002) was given a successful wide release in September 2004. Zu Warriors (2001) was released straight-to-DVD in August 2005.
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The girls pretending to be male soccer players with mustaches drawn on their faces is a reference to Stephen Chow's Dai lap mat tam 008 (1996), where the character of Carmen Lee plays a Geisha who first appears in disguise with a drawn mustache.
This film contains a vast amount of Puma product placement; almost every football boot in the film is Puma brand and almost all of the team shirts (other than Team Shaolin) are Puma, along with numerous Puma ads and even a football transforming into a flaming Puma when kicked at speed.
Originally, Miramax was supposed to release this film with the title renamed "Kung Fu Soccer," with a dubbed dialogue (with the participation by Stephen Chow himself), but it was scrapped due to the resistance of Chow.
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This was the first Hong Kong Movie to ever cross the HK$ 60 million (HK$60,739,847) mark in the Hong Kong box office.
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This film's U.S. release date was scheduled and rescheduled numerous times over a year and a half.
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The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

The Shaolin goalkeeper is a humorous homage to martial arts legend Bruce Lee. He develops a Lee-style haircut and wears a Game of Death (1978) yellow jumpsuit. When he is carried off, he also wears the big-lens sunglasses Lee was famous for wearing. As he is carried off, he lies in exactly the same fashion as Bruce Lee laid when he was in his coffin in Hong Kong.

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