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功夫老爸 (2004)
Silly Kung Fu Family

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 01/09/2010

There's nothing about Silly Kung Fu Family that could be considered entertaining. Hell, it could barely be called a movie, expect for the fact that it runs about ninety minutes, has actors, and was shot on film. The excruciatingly bad plot stars Wong Yat-Fei, reprising his role from Shaolin Soccer as Ironhead. If you were expecting some fun over-the-top soccer scenes, you're barking up the wrong tree. Most of the running time is devoted to Wong posing as a female nanny so he can reunite his grandson with his mom (Loletta Lee) and dad (Kenneth Chan). How no one notices that grandpa is their new nanny -- even after Pak Go sees him without a wig on -- is baffling to say the least, and points to some sort of creepy family relationship that would be perfect for Jerry Springer.

Reviewer Score: 1

Reviewed by: Masterofoneinchpunch
Date: 05/29/2007
Summary: "Michael, Jordan what are you two doing?"

SummerStorm’s Silly Kung Fu Family (aka Shaolin Family Soccer) may be an inexpensive spin-off living off the name of Shaolin Soccer without the wit, screenplay and presence of Stephen Chow, but the movie owes more in its tone and character to Mrs. Doubtfire and a bit of Problem Child. However, its unoriginality is not the biggest rub of the film – that would be the plot and characters.

Successful businessman Big Master, master of Iron Head Kung Fu (Wong Yat-Fei redoing his role from Shaolin Soccer; though his voice is replaced by a much younger man in the Mandarin dub), has two issues: his former teammates are getting beaten up by Brother Hong who wants a match between unbeaten Wu Lin team and Red Evil team, and his bigger problem is that he wants to get close to his estranged grandson Little Pak Go and son Gou Fung (aka Mr. Q) who works in Tong Gong as a hotel manager. To get close to his grandson he poses as a nanny named Lun Ma (yes he dresses in drag and he is about as unfeminine as Ernest Borgnine in a tutu) to a brat who with his outrageous behavior has caused eight previous nannies to quit.

Little Pak Go thinks that by getting rid of the nannies his mother will come back. However it is all because of Auntie Wai Lin who has eyes for Gou Fong (they have known each other for two years) or it could be because Gou Fung’s wife May (Loretta Lee Lai-Chun) broke off with them because of his jealousy of her boss or it could be because the film could not make its mind up who really was at fault in these relationships (instead of a love triangle in Mrs. Doubtfire this is more of a love rectangle). Anyways, Pak Go wants to get rid of this new male-looking nanny (from the countryside) until Lun Man’s persistence eventually won him over. Now they are teamed up to take on “Evil” Auntie Wai Lin who wants to send Pak to boarding school.

Then there is the sub plot: Lun Ma (aka Big Master) has to goalie his team while wearing his maid drag. I am not sure much more needs to be said except it was a bit ridiculous and not much else takes place on the field except a penultimate scene that really has no meaning in the film other than comic relief in this movie (contrary to what some titles of this film may make you think). After rewatching several scenes from Shaolin Soccer I am even more disappointed by this film.

Ultimately this film is harmless. It is a film that seems to cater more towards kids (I am not sure how it originally was marketed) and treats its audience as such. I think though it could have created at least a more cohesive outline for the story and more realistic (or even sympathetic) secondary characters. I never really felt that Auntie Wai Lin was that bad and I certainly did not feel that May was that great and they certainly did not seem to have a very stable marriage to begin with (except for a few flashback scenes). There are characters than come and go with no real purpose like the drunken couple that end up at the house later to be tortured by the dynamic duo and/or are not explained well like the drunken couple and several of Big Master’s lackeys. Though the two subordinates of Big Master named Michael and Jordan are funny just because of their names and their ineptness. Also the kid annoyed me which reminded me of the Problem Child kid (without red hair) another character that grated on me. I am not sure I would recommend this film to anyone. There are a few laughs but not much more.

The Image R1 DVD is a bare-bones disc with the movie and lots of trailers (the same trailers on most of the Image Asian DVDs). The transfer is OK, but I get the feeling the original elements were not that impressive. This film is from 2004 yet it seems that it is older than Shaolin Soccer. The worst aspect of this DVD was the renaming of this film to “Shaolin Family Soccer” (and the film itself keeps its original name on the print) which was done to try to capitalize on the Stephen Chow film. Also, the Mandarin dub does not sound great making me wonder if there is a Cantonese dub in existence.

Reviewer Score: 3