- 1h 40m
In the Song Dynasty, a group of patriots play soccer against the traitor with a team of foreign enemies, royal pro-nobles, bandits, martial arts masters and embrace the country hatred to com... Read allIn the Song Dynasty, a group of patriots play soccer against the traitor with a team of foreign enemies, royal pro-nobles, bandits, martial arts masters and embrace the country hatred to compete for the first time in the history of China International soccer match.In the Song Dynasty, a group of patriots play soccer against the traitor with a team of foreign enemies, royal pro-nobles, bandits, martial arts masters and embrace the country hatred to compete for the first time in the history of China International soccer match.
While Jeff Lau's 2017 nonsense comedy was heavily panned by critics all over, I couldn't help but find a soft spot for it smiling and laughing most of the way through it - although not splitting my sides. Even though the title refers to the sport, the majority of the film is more about the comedy situations and fight action involving double-crossings, mistaken identities and corrupt officials - leaving the soccer element of the film to come in to play in the last 20 minutes.
And for that reason alone, I think its wrong that past critics and viewers should stop viewing Soccer Killer as a rip-off or remake of Shaolin Soccer! They are quite obviously nothing alike...
While the latter is based mostly on the pitch with flashbacks to Shaolin Temple training and in a modern day setting, Soccer Killer is set in the Song Dynasty allowing for plenty of great costumes and set pieces with the only modern connection being that of the bad guy superheroes.
If Soccer Killer had come out 25 or 30 years ago, it would be regarded as one of those crazy Hong Kong movies that was talked about for years. Its not that much more off-the-wall than Wong Jing's hilarious Future Cops - a rough-around-the-edges martial arts comedy that spoofs Street Fighter 2 as well as Dragon Ball Z for some bizarre reason!
And only in Hong Kong cinema could you pull off a movie where the likes of Captain America, Hulk, Cyclops, Spiderman, Storm, Thor and many more American created superheroes would play death soccer against kung fu movie icons such as Yuen Cheung Yan, Chung Fat, Corey Yuen Kwai and others before going head-to-head with the Monkey King himself and the Eight Immortals?!?
Its just completely insane!
Yes its nothing in terms of direction or script unlike Lau's earlier efforts such as Black Rose '92, All For The Winner, and A Chinese Oddyssey 1 and 2, but Soccer Killer certainly doesn't bore. While I can see Jeff Lau making nods to his better days and past works in his comedy scenes, I can also understand how this can get lost with a modern audience. And why critics want to take this kind of film seriously is beyond me... Hollywood does serious - we don't need another Hollywood. Movies like this were the reason real fans fell in love with Hong Kong cinema and why they continue today.
Soccer Killer will never fall into the best of the best from HK cinema, nor will it reach the heights of a classic anytime soon, but I like it. I guess it hangs around the same corner as The Twins Effect 2, where you just wish it had have been so much more but kind of brush your disappointment aside because you can't help but enjoy elements of it. The fights, courtesy of the great Corey Yuen Kwai, are fun and well choreographed throughout, but for me, the end battle on the pitch was a big let down with the use of some pretty dodgy FX that look like something from a 90's PS2 game.
And of course, speaking of The Twins Effect 2, it was great to see Charlene and Gillian share the screen once again in a feature that puts them to good use and plays their cuteness and comedy timing well.
Overall: Far from perfect, Soccer Killer still manages to entertain for 84 minutes and isn't half as bad as the critics make it out to be!
- Dec 10, 2019