The Hero Myth in Popular Culture: The Hong Kong Action Hero in Shaolin Soccer and the Hollywood Kung Fu Champion in The Matrix


  • Dhruba Karki Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur Kathmandu, Nepal



the action hero, popular culture, the Hollywood-Hong Kong connection, computer graphics, myth, archetype


Cinema basically blends art and economics, and the film industry presents the hero figure in a fascinating image and action. The film visualizes a brave man or woman’s physical actions in the service to mankind. The action hero in his or her physical actions with rigor and passion to serve his or her nation and community exemplifies what a man or woman should be doing irrespective of personal interests. In the Wachowski brothers –directed The Matrix (1999), Neo Anderson, featuring Keanu Reeves, uses kung fu techniques and a rigorously trained body to save humans from the invasion of machines. Similarly, Steel Leg Sing in Stephen Chow’s Shaolin Soccer (2001), projecting Chow himself as an athletic champion, leads the Shaolin brothers team to a sweeping victory. The computer-generated graphic effects of the soccer hero’s exceptional performance in Shaolin Soccer and that of Neo’s virtual kung fu actions in The Matrix replicate a simulated body through electronically created computer graphics. Mighty Steel Leg Sing’s soccer game, enhanced by his acrobatics, embodies a perfect blend of the body, mind, and spirit. During a prestigious tournament, Sing sports soccer in such a spectacular feats that blends the athletic body and the twentieth-century popular sport. Like the digitized Neo in The Matrix, the soccer hero in Shaolin Soccer exposes magnificent feats of swirling movements and swift physical actions in the soccer field. The computer-generated graphics reposes the dynamics of the hero’s spiritual journey in the modern time human-computer interface brought to audiences through popular media and digital technology, shared by the Hong Kong and Hollywood action cinemas.


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Author Biography

Dhruba Karki, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur Kathmandu, Nepal

Professor of English




How to Cite

Karki, D. (2020). The Hero Myth in Popular Culture: The Hong Kong Action Hero in Shaolin Soccer and the Hollywood Kung Fu Champion in The Matrix. Curriculum Development Journal, (42), 1–17.