Friday, April 10, 2015

Review: Cool Runnings (1993)

     Cool Runnings is the story of Derice Bannock, a Jamaican sprinter who fails to qualify for the Olympics.   Instead of calling it quits, Derice enlists the help of Irv, a retired bobsleder, to help him train the first Jamaican bobsled team.   The teammates don't exactly get along, and they have to practice in a place where snow has never even been seen.   Cool Runnings is their humorous and thought provoking journey to the Olympics in Calgary; Alberta, Canada.

     When I first saw the cover for this movie, I thought it looked absolutely ridiculous.   A bobsled team from Jamaica?   Really?   You've got to be kidding me.   But, to my surprise, it didn't take very long for me to really start enjoying the movie.   The movie begins with us seeing Derice, the main character, train for the Olympics.   During this segment, you are introduced to the character of the people in Derice's town, as well.   You can see almost at once that Derice lives where everybody knows each other and loves each other like family.
      When Derice fails to qualify as a sprinter for the Olympics, the coordinator for the Olympics suggests that Derice talk to a former Olympic bobsleder, named Irving Blitzer.   Derice and his best friend, Sanka, attempt to talk to him, but are pushed away.   (Seriously, Irv almost beat them with a cue stick.   Twice.)   After convincing Irv to help them train, they find two more teammates, who happen to hate each other.   It was funny to see their first reactions to their new teammates and coach!
     Coach Irv builds the team a makeshift bobsled that looks as if it is made from a canoe and wagon wheels.   They practice in the "sled" by going down rather bumpy hills.   Their goal is to get everyone in the sled five seconds after their push start.   It takes several tries and many mishaps, but they finally do it.
     Now, they need the money to get to Canada for the tryouts.   Irv talks to Mr. Coolidge, the man in charge of Jamaican Olympic competition, to ask for funds.   Mr. Coolidge refuses, and the team is left to raise the money on their own.    They attempt many fundraisers, including kissing stands and arm wrestling competitions, but only get a few dollars this way.   In the end, Junior, one of the team members, sells his expensive car to get to the Olympic tryouts.
     When in Canada, the team discovers that Canada is much colder than they imagined, especially in winter!   The slope goes much faster than what they are accustomed to in their practices, and other teams mock the Jamaicans.   The team also discovers that their coach, Irv, left the Olympics because he cheated by putting weights into the front of the bobsled to go faster.    The team is not allowed to compete because of this.
     Fortunately, Irv takes matters into his own hands.   He speaks to the board about it.   He tells the board that if they wish to disqualify anyone for his sake, that they should not disqualify the team.   The team had not done anything wrong.   The Jamaican team is back in the tryouts, and qualify to compete.   The rest of the film is spent in further training and the actual competition.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
     (I knocked one Mickey off for unnecessary swearing.   Swearing in movies has its place, but in this case, it only distracted from the scene.)   I enjoyed watching all of Jamaica's team's humorous mishaps!   The characters are very funny and well-developed.   The problems that they faced didn't feel corny or fake, like many movies I have watched.   Also, I HATE sports, but this movie doesn't focus solely on them.   The focus is more on the team itself and their struggles in working as one.


  1. this is one of my favorite movies. I was shown it as a kid and I loved it. what made me even more excited than this movie was learning of the return of the Jamaican's Bobsled team in one of the recent winter Olympics