Beach Spike

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“Shaolin Volleyball.”

beachspikeSharon (Chau) and Rachel (Fu) have a pretty idyllic life, spending their days mostly on the beach playing volleyball, with occasional bouts of clubbing and very occasional work. But this relaxed approach to things is threatened by the Brewer family, who plan to turn the entire seafront into a megaresort, displacing all the happy local beach-bums. Leading the charge is family daughter Natalie (C, whom I can only presume was named by the same model-actress-whatever department to give us Maggie Q), who has a hatred for the “little people” and, along with her sister, kicks the arse of Sharon and Rachel in an early contest.

Through a series of frankly implausible events, and clouded by the blossoming relationship between Sharon and Brewer scion Tim (Law), the future of the resort project hangs on a rematch, the two teams making their way through a tournament to face each other in the final. However, anyone familiar with kung-fu movies will not be surprised to hear the good girls have been getting training from relatives well-versed in martial arts, and they won’t be such a pushover in the second battle.

It’s hard to work out exactly who the audience for this mess is supposed to be. Beach volleyball fans will hate the dreadful CGI, used to portray any protracted rallies, in lieu of actual skill, and likely find the heroines implausibly unmuscled (one in particular looks like she will shatter if dropped). Action fans will find little to remember here either, despite the presence of veteran heroine Yeung Pan Pan as Mrs Tao, and despite an obvious influence being Shaolin Soccer, there isn’t a trace of Stephen Chow’s wit. Even those looking for pleasures of a more exploitative nature will likely get bored, sitting through the lengthy comedic and romantic interludes.

I suppose those fascinated by Acting Performances In A Second Language might get a kick out of the Brewer family, who deliver lines in English about as well as I could in Cantonese. But I think the main intended market for this is a fetish one, and fairly specific at that. If you like seeing women hit in the face by balls, this is the movie for you. No, really. particularly during a competitive montage at the end, where it becomes a virtual barrage of ball-to-face action, including in slow-mo. Otherwise, the idiocy of the plot and blandness of the lead characters overpower much of whatever potential this had, and Wanted: DOA did a much better job with the sport. Probably, this needed either to be taken completely seriously or go over-the-top entirely and head into total parody (like Soccer did). Instead, this does neither, and the end results just sit in front of you like a beached whale for 95 minutes.

Dir: Tony Tang
Star: Chrissie Chau, Theresa Fu, Him Law, Jessica C

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