Kung Fu Dunk | aka Slam Dunk (2008) Review

"Kung Fu Dunk" American DVD Cover

"Kung Fu Dunk" American DVD Cover

AKA: Shaolin Basket
Director: Chu Yen Ping
Writer: Chu Yen Ping, Lam Chiu Wing
Producer: Albert Lee, Xu Peng Le, Yiu Kei Wai
Cast: Jay Chou, Eric Tsang, Wilson Chen, Charlene Choi, Ng Man Tat, Wang Gang, Huang Bo, Will Liu Keng Hung, Leung Kar Yan, Eddie Ko
Running Time: 98 min.

By Mighty Peking Man

From Chu Yen Ping (aka Kevin Chu), the director of Fantasy Mission Force (1982) comes Kung Fu Dunk

Since when did Chu Yen Ping become a hot shot director working with extremely famous stars like Jay Chou? What’s going on here? Does Jay Chou owe Jimmy Wang Yu a favor or something?

I’m not knocking Chu Yen Ping, but judging from his filmography, his career is bizarre. Every time the guy makes a movie with major talent (which has only been a few times out of his 60+ movies), they’re strange ensemble pieces.

Take Island of Fire (1991) for instance: It stars Andy Lau, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung and Tony Leung Ka Fai. Of course we’re all aware of how Jackie took the role as a favor to Jimmy Wang Yu (he saved Jackie from Lo Wei, who wanted to kill Jackie, literally); It’s public knowledge that Jackie disowned Island of Fire. He also disowned Fantasy Mission Force. Both directed by Chu Yen Ping, both presented/produced by Jimmy Wang Yu. Go figure. As far as the other three stars, who knows? I’m sure they owed something to somebody.

After Island of Fire, Chu Yen Ping went back to making obscure films with either has-been stars or unknowns — that is until Kung Fu Dunk came along. Even Chu Yen Ping’s next movie was another big budget, effects-driven film called Treasure Hunter (2011), also starring Jay Chou…

Okay, now that I got that out of the way, I feel like I can officially start with this review…

I think if I was a corny 15-year old Chinese girl with red streaks in my hair, I’d have a little more appreciation for Kung Fu Dunk. I knew what I was getting into beforehand: Pop stars, guys with dumb hair and arm tattoos, Eric Tsang acting like his usual self (I’m getting sick of this guy), and useless Charlene Choi doing nothing but cheering the team on the whole time. What a stupid character. Speaking of which, what’s up with her marijuana-leaf cap? Shouldn’t she be in jail and sentenced to death for wearing that in a Chinese film?

As for Jay Chou, I was very impressed with him. I’ve never seen any of his movies before. I didn’t even know he existed until he got the part as Kato in The Green Hornet (2011) movie. When he did get that role, I was thinking to myself: “Why that guy? Who the hell is he?”…

Now that I’ve watched Kung Fu Dunk, I understand why the producers picked him.

I’m not saying he’s my current favorite star, but he is good. There’s something about his presence that most young stars lack these days. He’s different. Whether he’s fighting dozens of guys or flying around with a basketball in his hand, I was actually sold that his character was capable of doing those amazing things. I don’t mean to sound gay, but you know what, I like Jay Chou; and I’m officially looking forward to The Green Hornet because of his performance in Kung Fu Dunk alone.

Jay Chou aside, Kung Fu Dunk is average. It has a few hilarious moments, but as whole, I’m just not feeling it. Again, I knew what I was getting into, so I was expecting all the over-the-top basketball scenes dipped in a shit load of computer generated effects. Sure, the story has a sappy message but seriously, who cares? I can get the same message from watching an episode of Full House.

Considering Kung Fu Dunk is directed by Chu Yen Ping, it could have been a lot worse. Jay Chou definitely saves it from being unwatchable.

Or maybe I’m just getting too old for this shit.

Mighty Peking Man’s Rating: 6/10

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