25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Cool Runnings [DVD]  (DVD)I must admit that I’m a sucker for a good sports underdog movie and I also like a well executed family film, so it’s not really surprising that I rate “Cool Runnings” as a great film and definitely one I would recommend.
Very loosely based on the true story of the Jamaican Bobsleigh team who competed in the 1988 Calhary Winter Olympic Games the film shows the gathering of four unlikely Olympic heroes from the sun drenched island of Jamaica. Derice Bannock is the 100 metre sprinter who denied a place in the Jamaican athletics squad after a freak accident concerning two other soon to be members of the bobsleigh team, Junior Bevil and Yul Brenner, searches out an American ex-bobsleigh champion living in a drunken stupor on the island. Irving 'Irv' Blitzer is a wreak of a man and it takes some considerable persuading on the part of Derice and his best friend and forth member of the team, Sanka Coffie to get Irv interested in coaching the team.
Like a hundred of the best sporting underdog movies that have gone before and will no-doubt come again the story of the team’s journey to the Olympics are a veritable roller-coaster ride of various highs and lows and although some of them are clichéd to the hilt you can’t help but be entertained by them all. The rousing finale is one of the most moving ever seen and remains a firm favourite film scene ever of mine. But as I say I’m a sucker for this sort of thing.
The main reason why the film works so well and why the rather hackneyed plot gets away with it all is quite simple. Firstly John Candy is simply brilliant as the cynical but fiercely loyal Irv Blitzer. This is the sort of light comical role that he always excelled at and here he is well worth the money. Secondly the four members of the bobsleigh team are played with such enthusiasm by the four actors involved one just can’t help by be drawn into the film’s spell. Best of the bunch is the high energy Doug E. Doug as Sanka who mixes manic comedy with sweet home truths in a great style.
It’s not a classic film and it was never going to sweep the awards ceremonies clean, it was never meant to, but what it is a fine example of is a rather touching family film that will entertain and delight.