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  Publicity Stills of "Slam Dunk"
(Courtesy from GV

Genre: Comedy/Action
Director: Kevin Chu
Cast: Jay Chou, Eric Tsang, Charlene Choi, Bo-Lin Chen, Baron Chen, Ng Mang Tat, Leung Ka Yan, Huang Bo, Yan Ni, Jacky Wu, Gao Xiong
Runtime: 1 hr 40 mins
Released By: GV/Mediacorp Raintree Pictures/Scorpio East Pictures
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://kungfudunk.scholarfilms.com.tw/

Opening Day: 7 February 2008



Shi-Jie is a brilliant martial artist from the Kungfu School. The master of the school adopted him as a baby, when he was found abandoned in the woods. His remarkable kungfu skills stem from his innate intuition and ability to read his opponents moves. One day, he encounters a group of youths playing basketball and shows off how easy it is for him, with his martial arts training, to do a Slam Dunk. Watching him was Chen-Li, a shrewd businessman, who decides that he would exploit Shi-Jie to make some money. Under the guise of helping Shi-Jie to find his family, he recruits him to play varsity basketball at the local university.

By some strange coincidence, the girl that Shi-Jie has had a long-standing crush on is the sister of the basketball team’s captain, Ting-Wei. In a bid to get her attention, he acts out by challenging the team star and Li-Li’s idol Xiao-Lan, throwing off the team’s game. Ting-Wei steps in to resolve the conflict, and in the process, helping Shi-Jie to focus his energies on the game and adapting his kung fu skills for basketball.

The major rival team, lead by Lee Tien, is so ruthless they have been banned from competing in the United States. In the championship match against Ting-Wei’s team, they bride the referees to turn a blind eye to their underhanded tactics against the humble university team. In the face of all adversity, Shi-Jie and the team learn their most important lessons and pull out all the stops to win the game.

Movie Review:

The second a particular Asian superstar named Jay Chou appears on screen, sporting his too-cool-to-be-true persona, you know this movie belongs to him and him alone. After hiding a “Secret” and bearing the “Curse of the Golden Flower”, Chou is back on the big screen, and this may be his most enjoyable performance yet. Heck, even the signature hip-hop soundtrack that plays when he first makes his appearance in this Kevin Chu-directed Chinese New Year blockbuster will tell you that the movie is made for him.

Shot in Taiwan and Mainland China, the story of this 100-minute movie isn’t exactly what you call innovating: Chou plays an orphan who finds himself in a kung fu school. Like the artiste himself, our protagonist discovers his talent for playing basketball. After being expelled by the corrupted headmaster of the kung fu school, he joins a university basketball team to shoot balls, fall in love and play in matches against the bad guys.

Boasting an impressive production and marketing budget of US$10 million, it is evident where all the money went to. Check out the remarkable computer generated effects which make Chou fly into the air. Check out the outstanding stunt choreography by Ching Siu-Tung (The Warlords), where Chou brings down an army of bad guys in a night club. Check out the breathtaking camera shots by cinematographer Zhao Xiaoding (Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles), where multiple crane shots showcase the magnificence of the adrenaline-filled basketball matches.

The well-rounded team is complete with Yee Chung Man’s vibrant costume design, a very strong supporting cast of Eric Tsang, Charlene Choi, Chen Bo-Lin, Baron Chen, and cameos from familiar faces like Ng Man Tat, Leung Ka Yan, and Jacky Wu. Tsang is reliable as the money-minded businessman with a heart, Choi is somewhat bland as Chou’s love interest, the two Chens are pretty-looking boys without looking silly, while recognizable comic figures like Ng, Leung and Wu make you sit up with their spot-on antics.

While there is a more original sports-themed kung fu movie Shaolin Soccer (2001) before this, Chu’s festive movie is still well worth your bucks, simply for its high entertainment value. The Taiwanese filmmaker is known for his slapstick shows like Flying Dagger and the Shaolin Popey series (starring the two adorable bald-headed kiddies), and his jokes will tickle your ribs, even if they are not the most intelligent types

But we digress. The show is clearly all about Chou and his very likeable screen personality. A 29-year-old actor playing a 20-year-old character? In the wrong hands, the sight of a grown man bouncing around like a typical teenager may be very cringing. But trust the sometimes broody singer-actor-director to pull it off. Girls would want to be with him. Guys would want to be him. There is no doubt the spotlight of this mass-appealing movie is on the Asian superstar.

Come on, even the theme song of the movie is named after the man: “Zhou Da Xia” (loosely translated as “Swordsman Chou”) features signature Chou-styled rapping lyrics about eating bean curds. On one hand, you can’t imagine anyone who is more narcissistic, while on the other, you give it to him because you know you are going to enjoy this so much.

Movie Rating:

(This lightweight Chinese New Year blockbuster is highly entertaining)

Review by John Li


. Secret (2007)

. The Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)

. Initial D (2005)

. Kungfu Hustle (2005)

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