The Champions (Boh ngau, 1983)

Hong Kong Panorama Corporation Ltd. 2020 DVD edition, region 3

Text below 2021-04-12

 

Until just recently i hadn't heard about this obscure forgotten film with the great Yuen Biao in it. Stephen Chow, also great, the funniest
Chinese man alive, made fun of Soccer in his 2001 international break-through film, the Super Hit "Shaolin Soccer". Chow had been a
Chinese superstar for over a decade by then but pretty unknown in the West.
But Yuen Biao had made his Soccer comedy already in 1983 with "The Champions". It's far from as funny as the Stephen Chow film but
it's enjoyable nonsense and one has to remember that Biao was primarily a martial arts performer and actor and not a comedian as Chow.

Yuen Biao, The GREAT Yuen Biao born in 1957 were one of the famous "Three Brothers" or "Three Dragons" together with Jackie Chan
and Sammo Hung as they grew up together in the Peking Opera school. Biao was an extremely acrobatic and agile martial arts artist and
in his 1980's action comedies made with Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan he just flies. He defying gravity, he seemingly flies, and if i have to
choose my favourite films with Biao it will be the 1984 "Wheels on Meals" , 1987 "Above the Law" and the 1988 noirish "On the Run".

Yuen Biao can for sure juggle a ball, something he shows us during the intro credits. In this film he's country boy Lee Tong and he's more
used to herding his uncle's geese than playing football. After beating the village gangster and tough guy he must leave and he heads to
Hong Kong where he stumbles into the celebration of the new Soccer stadium. The big soccer hero King (Dick Wei) does the inauguration
and is cheered on by the people. King is the pride of Hong Kong and Tong wants to be that popular too, but .... accidently Tong makes a
fool out of King and makes a deadly enemy.

Tong moves in with siblings Fung (Moon Lee) and her brother Suen (Cheung Kwok Keung) and plays in Suen's team. A game on a sandy
beach and that more resembles a martial arts fight than football. Tong and Suen tries to make it into one of Hong Kong's top teams, The
Lungwah Club, a club owned by King. Tong is accepted but King enjoys his revenge on Tong and makes him suffer as a ball boy, cleaner
and janitor, and Tong is not allowed to actually play in the team.
But, Tong instead joins up with HK's other great team, the Seng Sun team where Suen now plays. Time for a derby game against King's team.

The DVD is presented in anamorphic widescreen with 5.1 DD cantonese audio with english subtitles, and with a trailer and a Card, region 3

 

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