Kung Fu Dunk (2008)

Posted in Reviews by - March 23, 2015
Kung Fu Dunk (2008)

Bizarre sports film greatly inspired by the comedies of Stephen Chow – most notably Shaolin Soccer – which embraces Chow’s leaning towards high-concept absurdity without any of the performer’s natural wit or levity. Eric Tsang is the film’s only bona fide comedic presence and the young cast struggle to rival his charisma. Tsang plays a down-and-out agent who spots the superior throwing skills of orphaned kung fu punchbag Jay Chou, so he finds him a place on a university basketball team. He becomes something of a teen idol and a target for gangsters, keen to exploit his good nature. This may have something to do with his superhuman ability to jump 30ft into the air and shoot a hoop from just about anywhere. His master taught him the ‘altering universe’ tai chi technique when he was little, which the film uses as a device to explain the more extreme fantasy moments, like the ability to freeze the scene and go back in time. The film has fun with spectacular wire-fu routines and computer generated slam-dunks which have very little to do with the sport of basketball, before culminating in a sequence of pure fantasy. There is also a lost subplot about a rivalry between four kung fu masters and the school’s serving sifu, who calls himself World No. 1 Fist God, but he is actually a charlatan in league with the crooks. A romantic element is also not fully explored. The only thing that seems to work convincingly is the chemistry between Eric Tsang and Jay Chou. Their unlikely kinship quickly becomes the heart of the film. The action is fun and vibrant; a huge fight scene in a nightclub is probably the best sequence, aided by a brilliant theme song: ‘Hero Chou’, sung by the film’s star Jay Chou.

AKA: Shaolin Basket

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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