If you enjoyed the film Shaolin Soccer, you should also watch this film even though this movie is all about basketball with a twist of kung fu. Kung Fu Dunk was originally titled "Slam Dunk" because it was based on the highly-acclaimed anime "Slam Dunk" even though there is no connection with it aside from the sports basketball.
| Promotional poster for the live-action|
film Kung Fu Dunk, the original poster
used the title "Slam Dunk".
The film is almost an imitation of Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer. Instead of soccer, the sports played here is basketball. The main protagonist, Fang Shi Jie (Jay Chou), grew up in a kung fu school without knowing his real parents. One night, he met Wang Li (Eric Tsang) and executed to him his incredible ability of throwing and shooting things. Wang befriended him and brought him to a club where Shi Jie played darts and earned hundred of dollars which cause chaos inside the club. When the principal of the school learned it, he immediately expelled Shi Jie. The next night, Wang Li and Shi Jie met again on the park. It's the night where Wang Li invited him to play basketball at "First University" and with the cause of helping Shi Jie to search for his family through basketball but Wang Li's real interest is to make him a cash cow. Later on the film, they became close friends.
After joining the basketball team, Shi Jie met his long time crush Li-Li (Charlene Choi) whom he admired so much. He also met the captain of the basketball team, Ting Wei (Bolin Chen), Li-Li's brother. Out of desperation, Shi Jie wanted to compete with Xiao Lan (Baron Chen) to draw's Li-Li's attention. Later on, the three basketball player become friends. With the use of kung fu, She Jie incorporated it on basketball and made his skills grow which made their team win many rounds.
|First University's star players (starting from the left)|
Shie Jie, Ting Wei and Xiao Lan.
The movie has an all-star cast including some of the actors of Shaolin Soccer. Jay Chou is a known Taiwanese singer-actor, while Eric Tsang is known for his comedy roles in Chinese films. I've seen Eric Tsang many times on Chinese movies. While Charlene Choi is a known actress in China. I've also seen her many times in Chinese films including the epic "Chinese Tall Story" movie. Bolin and Baron Chen are Taiwanese actors. Despite their same surname the two Chens are not related. Baron Chen appeared in the hit Taiwanese drama Fated to Love You while Bolin appeared many times in Chinese and Taiwanese films including "Chinese Tall Story" and "Kung Fu Hip Hop 2".
|Ting Wei's winning dunk.|
The movie has been poorly received by most critics despite of its funny theme. Actually there's a part in the movie where the masters of Shi Jie played in the final match, it totally sucks. They copied Shaolin Soccer in that scene, it's much better if those four just supported the team and healed the injured player immediately. The movie is also unrealistic because there are no coach to aid the team, they only have a manager (Li-Li). It also became more unrealistic when the four oldies played in the final match. The final opponent of First University's basketball team is clearly an imitation of the final opponent of the Shaolin Team in the film, Shaolin Soccer. Despite of the claim that they based it on Slam Dunk, the movie actually tries to imitate the success of Stephen Chow's Shaolin Soccer. If they don't tried to mimic it and put the kung fu theme on it, instead adapt the anime from the beginning. It will probably achieved the success of Shaolin Soccer because Slam Dunk is a great anime that has been watched by millions worldwide. Also there are unnecessary flashbacks and story arcs in this movie.
My grade for this movie is 4 out of 5. Maybe the movie tries to imitate Shaolin Soccer but it has its own story. It also have some scenes that will touch you especially the scene where they lose to their opponents. The movie is directed by Chu Yin-Ping. By the way, there is a rumor that there will be a part two of this movie.
Anyway here's the movie: