You may define your own banner on the settings page.
FilmsAsia: Asian film reviews
Soh Yun-Huei
Dave Chua
Brandon Wee
Wong Lung Hsiang
Felix Cheong
Foong Ngai Hoe
Adrian Sim
sieteocho
Chris Khoo
O Thiam Chin
Lau Chee Nien
Sinnerman
Ambient Noise
Drakula
daface
Sarhan Rashid
Ying Wuen
Liverbird
Ellery Ngiam
Toh Hai Leong
Toh Hai Leong, Auteur
Wong Kar Wai
The Seduction of Wong Kar Wai
Tsai Ming Liang
Lav Diaz
Mikio Naruse
Leslie Cheung
Jonathan Foo Interview
Chinese Ghosts
Assassins in Asian FIlms
Sex in Asian Cinema
Erotic Cinema of the Shaw Studios
Homosexuality in Chinese Films
My Left Eye Sees Creativity
Hollywood Remakes
Comic Book Superheroes
One League of Social Consciousness
Emerging Trends in East Asian Cinema
Postwar Korean Cinema
Decline of Hong Kong Cinema before 1997
Bollywood
Rise of Afghan Films
Singapore's Mini Cinema
Creating A Singapore Cinema
Why Cinema is Important to Singapore
Singapore Film Industry
Rites of Passage
Replying to Critics
Daniel Yun Interview
Singapore International Film Festival
Bangkok International Film Festival
Tokyo International Film Festival
Toronto International Film Festival
Writer's Block
15
19
2046
Acacia
All Tomorrow's Parties
And Also the Eclipse
Another Heaven
At Five in the Afternoon
Audition
Avalon
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
Bangkok Haunted
Barking Dogs Never Bite
Batang West Side
Battle Royale
Bear Hug
Beautiful Boxer
Beijing Rocks
Bend It Like Beckham
Best of Times
Betelnut Beauty
Big Durian
Big Shot's Funeral
Bird Man Tale
Blackboards
Blissfully Yours
Blue Kite
Bounce Ko Gals
Brighter Summer Day, A
Butterfly
Cafe Lumiere
Cat Returns
Chinese Odyssey 2002
City of Glass
City Sharks
Clean
Color of the Truth
Color Blossoms
Confucian Confusion
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Dark Water
Desire
Destination 9th Heaven
Divine Intervention
Dolls
Double Vision
Dumlings: 3 Extremes
Enter the Phoenix
Era of Vampire, The
Eye, The
Eye 2, The
Eye 10, The
Face
Fat Choy Spirit
Floating Weeds
Fog of War, The
Formula 17
Friend
Full Alert
Garuda
Gemini
Ghost in the Shell
God or Dog
Golden Chicken
Golden Chicken 2
Goodbye, Dragon Inn
Grudge
Guru, The
Hana-Bi (Fireworks)
Harold and Kumar
Headlines
Hero
Hidden Blade, The
Homerun
House of Flying Daggers
House of Fury
House of Sand and Fog
Howl's Moving Castle
Hypnotized
I Not Stupid
In the Mood for Love
Infernal Affairs
Infernal Affairs III
Innocence: Ghost in the Shell 2
Install
Iron Ladies 2
Isle, The
Jan Dara
Jealousy is My Middle Name
Joint Security Area
Ju-On: The Grudge (2003)
July Rhapsody
Khakee
Korban Fitnah
Koroshi
Kung Fu Hustle
Lan Yu
Last Life in the Universe
Last Samurai, The
Legend of Zu, The
Liang Po Po
Love/Juice
Love Letter
Lucky Number
Marry a Rich Man
Me Thao
Medallion, The
Metropolis
Monrak Transistor
Moveable Feast, A
Munna Bhai M.B.B.S.
Musa the Warrior
My Left Eye Sees Ghosts
My Neighbors The Yamadas
My Sassy Girl
Naked Weapon
Name of a River, The
New Police Story
Nobody Knows
Nobody Knows How to be a Film Critic
One Leg Kicking
Ong-Bak
Perfect Blue
Phone, The
Ping Pong
Pirated Copy
Princess D
Quill
River, The
Road Home
Romance of Book and Sword
Runaway Pistol
S Diary
S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine
Samsara
Scent of Green Papaya
Seoul Raiders
Sepet
Seventeen Years
Shall We Dance?
Shanghai Knights
Shaolin Soccer
Shower
Shutter
Singapore Gaga
Skywalk is Gone
So-Called Friends
So Close
Someone Special
Song of the Stork
Spider Forest
Spirited Away
Spring Summer Fall Winter Spring
Stories About Love
Storm Riders
Summer Holiday
Sumpah Pontianak
Super Size Me
Surprise Party
Swing Girls
Tale of Two Sisters, A
TalkingCock
Tears of the Black Tiger
Teenage Textbook Movie
This Charming Girl
3-Iron
Three: Extremes
Tokyo Raiders
Touch, The
Tree, The
Truth or Dare
Twelve Storeys
Twenty-Four Eyes
Twins Effect
Twins Effect 2
Virgin Stripped Bare by her Bachelors
Visitor Q
Volcano High
Warriors of Heaven and Earth
Waterboys
Way Home, The
Welcome Back Mr McDonald
Wesley's Mysterious File
When I Fall In Love With Both
Wishing Stairs
Wolves Cry Under the Moon
Woman is the Future of Man
Women's Private Parts
World Without Thieves, A
Zombie Dog
A Time to Live A Time to Die
e-mail me


   One Leg Kicking  



 

One Leg Kicking

Reviewed by Soh Yun-Huei

Directors: Eric Khoo, Koh Wei
Writing Credits: James Toh
Cast: Gurmit Singh, Mark Lim, Sharon Au, Moe Alkaff, Siva Choy, Robin Leong
Genre: Comedy
Country: Singapore
Language: English
Year Released: 2001
Rating: ** (out of four stars)

One Leg Kicking is a Singapore production that had many audiences looking forward to its opening, since its trailers aired about half a year ago. The local film industry has been flagging, and a comedy is possibly one of the better ways to revive the industry due to its mass appeal. What’s more, the film is about football and underdogs-made-good, again two rather popular and crowd-pleasing themes. One Leg Kicking also features a cast of highly recognizable faces, including Gurmit Singh, Mark Lee, Sharon Au, Siva Choy, Robin Leong, Fiona Xie et al, which could help ensure good box office takings as well. However, One Leg Kicking isn’t as good as I hoped it would be, which could be largely attributed to Robin Leong and an uneven script.

Tai Po (Gurmit Singh) has been an aspiring soccer player since young, and would have made good as a Singapore youth player if not for a ‘career-ending’ injury. Many years on, Tai Po has become an overachieving underachiever, and has had to bring up his two children alone since the death of his wife. His plumbing job doesn’t pay well, involving manual labor and dealing with unsavory characters like his boss, Sonny Lee (Lim Kay Tong) and son Gavin (Robin Leong). He is partnered by ditzy tomboy Kim (Sharon Au), until Sonny employs an ex-convict by the name of Handsome (Mark Lee). Tai Po also has a good friend by the name of Vernon (Moe Alkaff), who is a performer in a pub, but is facing steady competition from the increasing popularity of karaoke.

A local football competition promises the winners a trip to the 2002 World Cup finals, and Tai Po and Vernon decide to try for the league. They assemble a motley crew of players for the Durian team, including themselves, Handsome and two mysterious Brazilian youth players. Through a coincidence, they manage to recruit an ex-star player turned destitute drunk, Samy Best (Siva Choy), as their coach. The Durians face strong opposition - Gavin is the captain of the hot favorite Cosmos team, and Sonny is willing to go to great lengths to help his son win. The Durian team has other problems - Tai Po has to ensure his children stay on the right path; Vernon is on the brink of losing his job; Handsome needs to keep his fiery temper in check; and Kim needs to vie with Sonny’s daughter Gwen (Fiona Xie) for Handsome’s attention. With so many distractions, would the underdogs be able to beat the odds and clinch the title?

One Leg Kicking is a comedy with a strong dose of drama, and the various comedians in the movie display their acting chops with relative aplomb. Gurmit Singh, Mark Lee, Moe Alkaff and Sharon Au all have their emotional moments, but one scene that features Gurmit reminiscing about his wife is particularly ‘real’ and impressive. Sharon Au is very comfortable with her ditzy, mildly uncouth image, a persona she often adopts in TV programs, and Mark Lee seems to be playing himself. That said, One Leg Kicking also has its share of bad acting, mostly belonging to Robin Leong. Although Robin is not known to be a thespian in any sense of the word, he actively chews up the scenery in every scene he appears in. Someone should teach him the meaning of overacting, as he manages to do it with exceptional, irritating consistency throughout the show.

The story of One Leg Kicking is pretty generic, and has been the theme of many a sports movie over the years. It is still refreshing, however, to see a uniquely Singaporean spin to the story, and writer James Toh manages to work in many local aspects into the storyline. The humour in One Leg Kicking doesn’t work all the time, but there are still several gems in the film. Unfortunately, there is one occurrence of ‘toilet humour’ that I felt was out of place, and in rather poor taste as well. The film also depends on quite a few cameos to raise the laugh quotient (Jack Neo, Moses Lim, Kumar and Brian Richmond all make their appearance) - but they are funny only by association, and would not be humourous to audiences not familiar with the local entertainment scene.

Although the script works in a more melodramatic side to the comedy quite well, there seem to be too many subplots, resulting in a rush to resolve every issue in the final reel. In fact, there is so little time in the film proper to deal with all the subplots, that an additional expositional scene had to be worked in during the credit sequence (yes, stay for the credits). Director Eric Khoo, who has not been very active behind the camera since 12 Storeys in 1997, does a very down-to-earth job helming One Leg Kicking, solidly filming both the football sequences and the more passive scenes.

One bone of contention is with the exceedingly blatant product placements in the film (namely Starhub, Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell), where the products are worked in awkwardly to the story. For example, Tai Po tries to distract his children from clamoring for KFC by pointing to the sky - cut to a lingering close up of the Starhub blimp. It reflects the sad fact that sponsors have a huge say in local productions more than anything else. Let’s hope this trend will die a natural death in the near future.

Final Word: A local production with relatively good production values, and a relatively enjoyable movie save for a few detractions.