Monday, May 19, 2008

Kung Fu Dunk (功夫灌篮-2008)

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Jay Chou~Fang Shi-jie
Charlene Choi~Li-li
Wilson Chen~Ting Wei
Eric Tsang~Wang Li
Baron Chen~Xiao Lan
Will Liu~Lee Tien

Chou stars as Fang Shi-Jie, an orphan who was abandoned next to a basketball court while still a baby. Raised in a martial arts school, Jie becomes skilled at kung fu, but he unfortunately falls in with sleazy con man Zhen Li (Eric Tsang), who discovers that Jie has amazing accuracy with throwing objects and decides to use him to hustle people at darts. The gambit works, until it raises the ire of local gangsters - but that's okay, because Jie trashes them convincingly in a bar-set brawl choreographed with routine pop kung-fu flair by Ching Siu-Tung. Sadly, Jie's Road House impression gets him kicked out of school. However, Wang Li has a better idea: use Jie's object-chucking skills on the basketball court! In record time, Wang Li gets Jie enrolled at the imaginatively-titled First University, where he's supposed to be their new star player. But Jie only has the ability to shoot, and can't necessarily pass, steal, dribble, dunk, or play defense. Will he learn all these abilities in time to help the team win the championship in rousing sports movie fashion?
Well, partly. Jie does learn some of the necessary skills (dribbling and dunking, mainly) in a quick montage. Before you know it, Jie is tearing up the court along with team captain Ding Wei (Wilson Chen, in an unnecessarily intense performance) and star player Xiao Lan (Baron Chen, no relation to Wilson). Kung Fu Dunk steals some concepts from seminal manga/anime Slam Dunk, including some character traits and relationships, plus a few minor story details. Jie is taught that his leaping ability is most important because he can rebound, and "he who controls the rebound, controls the game". That bit of wisdom is a direct lift from Slam Dunk and is indeed very sound basketball advice, relating to how defense and team play can actually make the difference between winning and losing. This lesson also turns up in Kung Fu Dunk during a moment where Jie admits that learning to pass - and not shoot - is his true lesson on the basketball court.

LOL! I really loved this movie. I've read bad reviews for this movie but too many people take some of these movies too damn seriously. This movie was made for fun. I enjoyed all the "kung fu" action especially at the beginning in the club. OMG! That was some seriously awesome stuff. My oldest son and I just had a riot with this one. It might not be for the older discrimating fan but perfect for kids ages 9-16. I might be 30-something but I love this kind of stuff. I do believe the ending of the movie was too rushed. We don't really know what happened with Shi-jie's relations wth Li-li. Dang! I wanted more of Baron Chen (Dylan in Fated to Love You). He's so cute! *sigh* Wilson Chen wasn't half-bad either (no relation to Baron).

Baron Chen
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I had to dig for pictures of this Taiwanese hunk. I'll admit he's cute. Other than Kung Fu Dunk, I've only seen him in Fated to Love You. And I'll admit that at this time it's my favorite drama this year. I will do a review of that once it's finalized. So far, it's very GOOD!

Wilson Chen
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