Basketball and Chinese martial arts combine to mildly amusing effect in pan-Chinese co-production “Kung Fu Dunk,” headlined by Taiwanese singer-actor hearthrob Jay Chou (“Curse of the Golden Flower,” “Secret”). Manga-inspired pic is armed with impressive (Mainland) visual effects and a story not too goofy to interfere with audience enjoyment. However, despite Chou’s presence, result scored only solid B.O. in February, bested by Stephen Chow’s “CJ7” in all Chinese-language territories. Film is unlikely to triumph elsewhere.
Abandoned by his parents next to a Shanghai kung-fu school, Fang Shijie (Chou) grows up to become its star student. A chance meeting with bankrupt entrepreneur Uncle Li (Eric Tsang, in cuddly mode) leads to the youth being placed on a university basketball team, with the PR angle that the orphan is searching for his real parents as he plays. In fact, Fang is more interested in wooing comely student Lily (Charlene Choi). Helming by prolific Taiwanese journeyman Kevin Chu (aka Chu Yen-ping) is functional, but pic comes to life in the sequences staged by Hong Kong action maestro Ching Siu-tung. Cast hits the right tone, with Chou maintaining his trademark bemused naivete.