The story is a fairly simple one, really: a former star football player who sold out by throwing a match attempts to turn a family of down-on-their-luck, reluctant (ok, all but one of them are reluctant) Shaolin experts into a prizewinning football team. Sounds clear enough, eh?
The genius, though, lies in the fact that Shaolin Soccer is- as its name indicates- more Shaolin and less soccer. It's a kung fu comedy through and through, quite cheerfully crude and silly in places (any Stephen Chow fan should probably know to expect that out of his films), but it doesn't lack its moments of seriousness, particularly in some scenes involving the team's coach or the love interest played by Vicki Zhao, who is an absolutely awesome character in her own right.
Classic trope for an epic scene (good guy strides in in slow motion to join a do-or-die mission with his long coat fluttering behind him in the wind), done Shaolin Soccer-style as shown above (the man is in his undershirt and boxers, and what flutters in the wind is a bathrobe). I couldn't not include these stills- goalie Empty Hand dressed like Bruce Lee in Game of Death!Below is a still from one of my favourite of the matches shown in the movie, featuring a cross-dressing Cecilia Cheung and Karen Mok and some fantastic acrobatics. I can't say more about why it's my favourite without giving out spoilers, but I will say it has something to do with their facial expressions and the goalkeeper in the two stills above.
And there were moments- quite a lot for a comedy, really, especially where the good guys are playing a football team that is actually named Team Evil- when I looked like the good coach in the above still, minus the yellow jacket.
*screenshots taken by me, everything else from metacafe.