With “One Leg Kicking,” Eric Khoo’s first full-scale feature in almost five years, the fest-friendly helmer’s position as Singapore’s premier filmmaker looks overdue for a re-vote. Pic opened locally last November to mixed reviews but managed to turn a small profit on its $230,000 budget, largely thanks to the popularity of its TV-name cast. Outside Southeast Asia, however, this poorly written, knuckleheaded attempt at a soccer comedy won’t score any goals.
Khoo’s arty previous films, “Mee Pok Man” and “12 Storeys,” showed little aptitude for comedy, and there’s none on display here as we follow the attempts of a single-parent engineering worker, Tai Po (popular TV star Gurmit Singh), to weld a bunch of losers into an amateur team that can beat that of his boss’s arrogant, Americanized son (Robin Leong, embarrassing). Best moments are in the hands of Mark Lee, a goofy comic who can triumph over the worst direction, playing an ex-con with a Bruce Lee-like temper. Copious soccer scenes have no special look or dynamism. For ears not attuned to the patois of Singlish, the whole film is subtitled in (fairly) standard English.