Miramax's Cut Version of "Shaolin Soccer" Unscathed by Critics

"Shaolin Soccer,” a sarcastic film about soccer games in China, premiered in South Korea and Japan last week. Critics were skeptical about the 33-minute cut from the overseas version, but still rated it an exceptionally good Chinese film.

US-based Miramax Pictures, who bought up the overseas rights for the film, made the cut. It cut the two-hour original version in Chinese to an 87-minute US version dubbed in English.

Miramax said it cut some of the content because they didn't feel it was essential to the theme of the film. At the same time, Miramax also added some high-tech effects to some scenes "to make the film more attractive”, head of the studio said. The opening part, some scenes, background music and the casting list were cut, while some game scenes were specially treated by technicians. Hong Kong critics said they didn't feel disappointed at the shortened version after they watched it in South Korea. They said "Shaolin Soccer" became more attractive and tighter after technical treatments.

The only thing the critics could not accept was the English dubbing of the film. "The dubbing sounded somewhat ridiculous," they said.

According to Miramax, it failed to premiere the overseas version in the United States for some political reasons. "Shaolin Soccer" will be premiered later in the year in the country.

"Shaolin Soccer," made by a Hong Kong film company, was the biggest winner at last year's Hong Kong film festival. Its director Stephen Chow also won his first film award as a professional director for the film. Stephen Chow used to be a highly acclaimed actor specializing in comic films.

(Eastday.com May 21, 2002)

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