SHAOLIN SOCCER.... 2!!!! Plus... The Shaw Brothers Films Being Restored!!! Plus a bit on KILL BILL!!!
Harry here... You've heard a lot of griping from us here at AICN in regards to the treatment that SHAOLIN SOCCER has been getting from its American Distributor, MIRAMAX, but that's pretty much the story throughout the history of Martial Arts Imports to the United States.
At QT5, Tarantino illustrated this by showing the original Cantonese print of Bruce Lee's FISTS OF FURY, with all of the original social and political subtext that was cut out of the original U.S. theatrical release. In fact, watching that print, you can't help but realize that for the first time, you are not only watching Bruce Lee's performance, but this was the first and only time I actually got to HEAR his performance in FISTS OF FURY.
Adding to that, you can often see the manhandling of the Shaw Brothers films by their U.S. Distributor American International. However, as Quentin stated... At least they were released here. Certainly that is a consideration. We folks that have already seen SHAOLIN SOCCER, we are in fact the aficionadoes of Asian Cinema. We're the folks that haven't already seen just RING, but RING 2 and RING 0. When Gore Verbinski's remake comes out, most attendees will never know there was an original, until they stumble into a video store to rent Verbinski's and perhaps a shrewd Video Clerk will mention.... "Have you ever seen the original?" It won't happen to most, but perhaps it will happen to some.
About a month ago, Miramax called me because they were thinking of renaming SHAOLIN SOCCER as KUNG FU SOCCER again. Apparently when they tested the titles, more people were interested in KUNG FU SOCCER because they didn't know what SHAOLIN meant. I tried to tell them that people didn't know what an E.T. was or a CLOSE ENCOUNTER OF A THIRD KIND or a FORREST GUMP or a BLOOD SIMPLE... That on these types of titles, it becomes the marketing challenge to use that in your favor. Define the word "Shaolin" to the typical American. Then to be cute... Define the word "Soccer" to them too. That seemed to work well for PULP FICTION.
Apparently though, Stephen Chow has given them his blessing for the title change, so who am I to raise a ruckus. Afterall, since the U.S. release has had other changes besides a possible title change, it'll make it easy for us. KUNG FU SOCCER will be the version that most Americans have seen... When you are talking to someone and they say to you, "Have you seen KUNG FU SOCCER?" You can retort with, "Have you seen SHAOLIN SOCCER?" then invite them to your house for enlightenment. You get to bring the original version to them. I asked Miramax to compromise... To release the original Hong Kong release version of SHAOLIN SOCCER with its original title, print and subtitled to a limited art house release, at the same time that they do the big roll out for KUNG FU SOCCER with the Saturday Morning commercials to get the kiddies into the theaters. They seemed intrigued by the notion, let's keep our fingers crossed.
Meanwhile, in new news it seems that Stephen Chow will be making a sequel to SHAOLIN SOCCER entitled, fittingly enough, SHAOLIN SOCCER 2. He is going to star and direct again! Now for those that know the film already, given the last shot of the film... I wonder if the whole film will take place in that idyllic Shaolin world where evil practitioners of the Shaolin way corrupt the serentity of Chow's message. What angle is Chow going to pursue? Well... All I know is I'm going to be watching the ASIA AICN reports like a hawk for news, because I'm genuinely excited about a sequel to this BRILLIANT COMEDY ACTION FILM!
Meanwhile, additional great news for lovers of Asian Cinema came from the New York Times today as an article detailing Celestial Pictures restoration and dvd & video release of the SHAW BROTHERS films. They have been restoring the original negatives and in addition to the video and dvd prints, they will be striking NEW 35mm Negatives for use at inquiring theaters, festivals and film programs. This is fantastic news for all film societies around the world, as the Shaw Brothers always kept an intensely firm grasp on their prints, never allowing their films out for fests, institutions or revival houses. The edited and dubbed versions have been seen in limited venues, but usually due to the industrious theater manager that dug and dug and dug. In addition... Apparently there will be a SHAW BROTHERS KUNG FU CHANNEL that'll be launched at some point this year!!!
Man, that's geek nirvana there! Think of it. 24 hours of Kung Fu films 365 Days a year! CAN YOU IMAGINE! Time for those oak walls to be put in your house, otherwise little fist and foot holes will spot your living room walls from all release of pent up wannabe Kung Fu spirit!
These releases should begin later this year and next... There are several hundred titles, and Celestial plans on doing a massive restoration... but also they have remake rights to all this stuff, so there could be a ton of remakes of these things coming (we won't diss that till we hear more about those sorts of plans though...)
NOW... In the New York Times article they grabbed a quote from Quentin Tarantino that elevated my already boundless enthusiasm for KILL BILL. It turns out that... Hold on, I'll direct quote for ya...
Tarantino, a well-known martial arts buff who wowed American audiences with ``Reservoir Dogs'' and ``Pulp Fiction,'' is now shooting his next film, ``Kill Bill,'' on the old Shaw Brothers lot.
``I've always loved the Shaw Brothers films and they have a
very special place in my heart,'' Tarantino said. ``It's
important for me to shoot part of 'Kill Bill' on the old
Shaw Brothers lot. It's sort of my homage to Hong Kong film
and there will be references to Shaws in the film.''
I'm sorry for the high brow vocabulary there, but I can't help but get a little Spicolli when I hear something that fucking cool. The concept that Quentin Tarantino is actually shooting part of his Kung Fu epic exploitation film on the stages and back lots of Sir Run Run Shaw and Run Me Shaw's SHAW BROTHERS PRODUCTION? WHOOOOLLLEEEEE SNUFFLUPPULLUS!!!!
Think of it... Sonny Chiba loose on the Shaw Brothers' stages! Yuen Wu Ping back there! Too Friggin Cool For Words!
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June 27, 2002, 3:25 a.m. CST
June 27, 2002, 3:25 a.m. CST
I finally watched the damn thing, and I thought it was one of the worst Asian films I had ever seen. Terrible, terrible humor. I guess that is what I hated the most. Some of the CG was pretty unique, though. I watched a couple of films from the star, "God of Cookery" and "From Beijing with Love". I thought those were 10 times better than SS. This is one of the few instances where I part company with Harry. Shaolin Soccer is a major disappointment, at least for me.
June 27, 2002, 3:27 a.m. CST
And I like your double-release suggestion, Harry. I haven't been all that upset about the title change, but the prospect of cutting bits out of the film, THAT upsets me. Were I given the assignment, I wouldn't know where to begin. Which sequence is the least brilliant? What can go, what has to stay? I love this film, and like you, I considered it one of the best of the year (if I remember your list correctly). I don't suppose it matters either way, since I have the import DVD in my collection. I also have all the Bruce Lee films in their original forms, and with their original titles. And as you said, I remember the feeling of excitement knowing that I was finally hearing Bruce Lee's performance, rather than that horrid spaghetti western dub job. I eagerly await the ruling of "Kill Bill". Cause it will.
June 27, 2002, 3:43 a.m. CST
It's called a comedy. And I love Stephen Chow comedies. It's an odd taste for most Western viewers, I will admit, but I'll be goddamned if it didn't work just great for me and every other person I've shown the DVD to (about a dozen or so, I'd estimate).
June 27, 2002, 3:48 a.m. CST
by Max Rockatansky
Who cares, if QT is shooting his film on the Shaw Bros. lot? Do you think you would have recognised it when watching Kill Bill? You are probably one of those losers who will rise from his seat an point at the screen yelling:"Behold!!! It
June 27, 2002, 3:50 a.m. CST
Harry, you stupid gwailo!!! Bruce's original voice was never recorded for the cantonese track of Chen, idiot!!! The only parts where Bruce's original voice appear are in the cantonese track, in english, as the russian prick, petrov.
June 27, 2002, 3:51 a.m. CST
I downloaded Shaolin Soccer a while back and loved it. Where can I get a region 1 DVD I can watch? The quality of the downloaded version was terrible. I loved the movie none the less.
June 27, 2002, 4:08 a.m. CST
by Fox Box
Have you not seen a chick that likes these things? Give me the old Shaw Brothers over all this new crap any day. Why did they change the name of Dunken Master II for it's american release. The cock heads. Oh yeah, www.kwoon.com Cool site with some home kung fu movies worth watching. Really
June 27, 2002, 4:09 a.m. CST
Since for the past year any time a story like this comes up I mention how all you have to do is get QT on the phone since Harvey Weinstein said and I quote "Quentin is my Asian films acquisitions exec"..." and ask HIM why he allows them to get away with these awful dubbing jobs and reedits and most of all RESCORING jobs. The redone Fist of Legend is almost shameful in its bullshit. CTHD made its money in Mandarin, so fuck em all and their excuses. While you're at it, mention how a bunch of us have punk rocked our own covers for Chungking Express. When a leading Asian graphic designer puts together gorgeous artwork why does respctful old Tarantino feel obliged to stick his stupid mug on the box in the corner, especially when Wong Kar Wai's audience knows who he is? Oh, and wouldn't it be nice to let Criterion handle it since they want to do Chungking Express but no, Tarantino has to buy his street cred by PUTTING HIS FUCKING MUG ON THE BOX! It'd be really interesting to see what's selling more, the Criterion In The Mood for Love or Chungking Express with Tarantino's shameless self promotion. Try and defend but it's just out and out hypocrisy. I've posted about it several times before and you've never responded Harry...
June 27, 2002, 4:12 a.m. CST
Bruce dubbed himself. I've seen the original Cantonese prints and it is unmistakably his sound. He was very insistent on expressing his character through these sounds because he believed them to have a psychological effect. There's a direct quote in the I think third volume of the collected Bruce Lee library where he mentions how much he even cares about that part of the filmmaking process. A lot of the sync issues had to do with the fact that most HK movies were not shot sync sound because they'd have to be dubbed into three languages for the complex HK filmgoing public.
June 27, 2002, 4:18 a.m. CST
by Cash Bailey
But once they start playing the hilarity is constant. I'm not sure if I like it better than GOD OF COOKERY yet, but that Bruce Lee goalie is a real jaw-dropper.
June 27, 2002, 4:20 a.m. CST
by Cash Bailey
Love that guy!!!
June 27, 2002, 4:42 a.m. CST
a sequel? i'm not sure if that is such a good idea. i mean, how many more jokes can you milk out of soccer? nevertheless, i will watch it, or anything that stephen chow directs from now on, unless, of course, he drops the ball. hehehe, :P
June 27, 2002, 4:51 a.m. CST
over here, we've got a similar cable channel, close to an all kung fu channel. it's called Star Mandarin. basically its an all Hong Kong movie channel. kinda kewl.
June 27, 2002, 5:09 a.m. CST
But I think something closer to one of the top posters' channel descriptions would be even better... an Asian film classics channel. Figure even with as many great Shaw Bros. flicks there are, after the second or third year it would simply be reruns of reruns. That's not the best business plan for the long term, even if you have three hundred different movies. But an all-genres Asian cinema channel, with maybe only the weekends and certain blocks of weekdays devoted to chop-socky action... now that could be a kick-ass Asian Bravo. Of course, they would have to show everything uncut or it might as well be thrown in the friggin garbage. Besides, my friend Jimbo had the Kung-Fu channel idea two years ago and I'm just protecting his interests in the name of sour grapes.
June 27, 2002, 6:08 a.m. CST
This is good news.. originally I read that Steven Chow didn't want to be in a Shaolin Soccer sequel, and that the studio was going to make it without him and call it Shaolin Cops.. the premise would be that the other brothers quit soccer to go to a police academy. When I read that I thought I was going to cry. Hopefully Chow is planning something less stupid.
June 27, 2002, 6:26 a.m. CST
by Mr Chuff
Harry needs to take a fuckin chill pill...he'll shit or bust a nut in his voluminous underpantage in a moment. Ok, so QT is coming back with a "kick-ass" flick....hmm..and wasnt "Godzilla" supposed to be cool too? I remember early word for fucking Batman & Robin promising a kick-ass baddie in Arnie and blah, blah, blah... So he's read the script ( a detail which he LOVES to crow about endlessly) and finds that very entertaining. Cool...good for you...well done...go to Matron and get a fucking badge of honour or some shit. THIS FILM COULD STILL TURN OUT TO BE A BIG BALL OF PISS!!! just fucking wait and see before you all decide to join the Ginger Jabba in giving QT a mucky facial before his flick is even finished with principal photography.
June 27, 2002, 6:37 a.m. CST
Kill Bill will be so great! The script is fabulous and the cast is good! I can't wait for more!! There are so much people in the Tarantino Archives Forum who talk about all references and connections in Kill Bill although they haven't all read the script but it's just so cool!!!! damn!! head over to forum.tarantino.info and take a look at it, all those Shaw Brothers connections,
June 27, 2002, 7:47 a.m. CST
I wish some of you would have warned us as to the DVD's god awful English subtitles. I couldn't make out what the hell people were saying half the time. I'll take a decent dub track over the subtitles on the Shaolin Soccer DVD any day. Overall I thought the flick was OK. I'm not a big fan of wire-fu, so you can imagine my distaste for cgi-fu. There was some great use of cgi sprinkled throughout the movie (especially towards the end), but a lot of stuff could have been done without the aid of computer graphics (even wire-fu would have been preferable). Bouncing a cgi soccer ball does not impress me. Use a real ball damn it!
June 27, 2002, 11:32 a.m. CST
by Max Rockatansky
Well, Mr Chuff, why don
June 27, 2002, 11:59 a.m. CST
by Max Rockatansky
Go for it mtoppi, I like your style.
June 27, 2002, 12:40 p.m. CST
I got my copy from ebay. Less than 20 bucks after shipping and its a great print. Subtitles, extras and all. I feel for anybody that doesn't like this movie. I suppose its all a matter of taste, as is anything, but it really is a fun movie. Its a very light hearted, sometimes over the top, kung-fu action comedy, with an offbeat romance thrown in. I forced my girlfriend to sit down and watch it, and she loved it!! The Bruce Lee goalie had me ROLLING!! Seek and you shall find...........M
June 27, 2002, 1 p.m. CST
is a cool ass flick. Third best film of 2001 in my opinion.. I will still probably see it in the theatre no matter how much they butcher it but what confuses me -- what the hell could they take out of it? Nothing is offensive in the slightest and none of the fighting compares to anything released in "action" movies from America. Hell, Minority Report was 3 or 4 times more violent and it *wasnt that violent* in itself.
June 27, 2002, 1:08 p.m. CST
I always enjoy watching HK Kung fu with bad cockney accented dubbers trying to sound like tough americans. It makes the movies funnier and the same dubbers are in all the movies! They're stars in their own right!
June 27, 2002, 2:08 p.m. CST
Couldn't resist. Mtoppi makes it too easy.
June 27, 2002, 3:02 p.m. CST
I know it's a comedy, but just because it is doesn't mean I have to laugh, esp. since little of it worked for me. It was more stupid, than funny. Cookery and Beijing, the two I mentioned earlier, are also comedies, and I found the humor much better in them. You've shown SS to a dozen people who liked it, well I know a few people who have seen SS, too, and none of them cared for it, including the person who loaned me the DVD. They also loaned me the other 2 films and we both agree that they are superior. It's just my preference and it appears that I am in the minority which is fine.
June 27, 2002, 7:39 p.m. CST
I don't think it was that great a film. The humor is just stupid. And I don't think I laughed once. I think people want to like it because its foreign and you seem so much more intelligent when you glorify foreign movies. Fuck that. Pretentious faggots...
June 27, 2002, 8:33 p.m. CST
on DOUBLE DVD's this year, retailing for 9.99. 5 Venoms, etc. are on the list.
June 27, 2002, 11:52 p.m. CST
They posted an ad in VARIETY 3 months ago about the restoration of old and newer Shaw classics. Since when is this NEW news?
June 28, 2002, 5 a.m. CST
Shaolin Soccer isn't the best Stephen Chow film by a longshot. It's good, but not great. I got the official Region 0 DVD from a Hong Kong online store for under 10 bucks... which is what it costs there. Ebay makes me puke. Anyway - I won't be going to see it in the theater unless it's uncut and in the original language. Half of Stephen Chow's comedy is in his voice. Anyone who's watched the DVD of Mad Monk can attest that his voice dubbed (in mandarin for that DVD) is not half as funny. Chinese cinema is a few hidden gems in a sea of mediocrity. Hell, they wanted to bring Legend of Zu... oh excuse me... Zu Warriors to the US and cut half an hour from the already confusing and scriptless special effects showcase. Tsui Hark is one of my favorite filmmakers and this is one of his worst films... they cut the bejesus out of it and dub it and expect the US audience to like it? Please... where's The Blade? Let's bring that film out on DVD properly... or at least give it a chance in the cinemas (not just a few arthouse theaters). Disney and Mirimax and Dimension all suck for bringing Asian cinema to the US. The only decent Asian representation we get here is either Tai Seng (who basically rip us off by charging an msrp of 30 bucks for a HK DVD that has their sticker on it which only cost them 5 bucks to import and once in awhile releasing their own DVDs) or the Bandai/Pioneer/etc... companies who release Anime. I guess unless these companies can make money hand over fist on something, it's not worth their time. Disney and Mirimax etc do nothing more than exploit Asian filmmakers for a quick buck. It's evident that there is no respect in Hollywood for Asian filmmakers... look at the projects they are given. Tsui Hark is given two terrible Van Damme movies to direct (and manages to make something decent out of one of them oddly enough). Jet Li is given a few weak scripts to star in and then his catalog of HK masterpieces are renamed and cut and released one by one to coinside with his theatrical flops. Jackie Chan is given some respect, but more often laughed at behind his back. I'd rather the filmmakers stay in their own countries and continue to make kickass movies that I can then import for 5 to 10 bucks each on DVD. That's the way it should work. I don't think Americans are ready for Stephen Chow. At least Hollywood hasn't discovered Korean cinema yet - oh wait, they released Shiri on DVD didn't they... oh well. At least Japanese cinema is safe... oops... Ring remake. Barf.
June 29, 2002, 12:59 p.m. CST
Stephen Chow appeared at a HK Movies Exhibition last week and mentioned a few projects that he might be getting his hands on. Shaolin Soccer 2, for sure, but this won't happen until 2003, as Chow has another project in mind before SS2. His next project is a ACTION KUNFU COMEDY with the story background set to be Hong Kong at the 40's or 50's. Chow is again going to direct and star. They are going to start filming at the end of this year. Stephen Chow also mentions that he is interested in directing movies without him being in it in the future.
Nov. 1, 2002, 10:39 a.m. CST
by megawat prod
I almost developed a distaste for Hong Kong films from working as a a glorified punching bag in too many of them. But, Kung Fu Video Nerds can rest assured that "Kill Bill" will be a "fun" film. Remember when we went to films to have fun and not try to diagnose it with Cinemagraphic jargon? "Kill Bill" is QT's attempt to have fun- not follow the rules. Just because their will be no bad subtitles to critize doesn't mean we should turn or attention to nit-picking the script and writer like neuro-surgeon's from Chinese Hell. Kill Bill will be a fun film to watch. lf you miss that point... your taking this Kung Fu stuff toooo serious Grasshopper! I'm sure it will be more than adequate to justify a few cold ones, a delivery pizza, and... even a toke of Ganja if you happen to be in Holland or Canada!
Nov. 2, 2002, 1:36 a.m. CST
hyber space is get'n too small mega! i know how yu feel bout this billy jack meets tom wolf stuff. qt has got that style you kant buy in a thrift shop. yu must find it in tokyo on a sidewalk when disgarded ancient treasures can be found... where have yu been since those days slipping down the stair wells of the chunking man- brimming over with underworld madness. mega, did qt swat you with his nunchukes before or after you tried to nab guns to heaven from ifd? you saw tob too many times. get back to the vagrant harbour before ringo networks wit the thought police!
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