Cool Runnings (1993)

Beware the following will contain plot detail.

If there was one Winter Olympics movie to rule them all, it would be Cool Runnings. Whether it was in a cinema or on VHS tape, everyone who grew up just before the age of smart phones has seen it. It may not rank in the top comedies of all time but throw Olympics into the search category and nothing else comes close.

On the face of it, the plot is average and indeed there are no special concepts. It’s the story of the first ever Jamaican bobsledding team who each have to overcome their own challenges to become respected Olympians. Derice (Robinson), Yul (Yoba) and Junior (Lewis) are 100m runners who do not make it into the Summer Olympics. As we all know, sprinters make good bobsledders, so after putting aside their rivalries, they find a 4th person Sanka (Doug) and coach Irv (Candy) to form a team. ‘Jamaican bobsledding’ at first sounds ridiculous and it’s from this where the cheerful humour stems. It glides over serious discussion of discrimination and self-doubt with antics that put a smile on your face. My memory of the plot is hazy but there are funny, memorable scenes such as one where the whole team practices in a bathtub.

Holding the comedy together is the strong theme of the strife to achieve a goal and the euphoria of team spirit. Any more spirit in this film and it would have to come with a ‘drink responsibly’ label. On the minus side, the true story link which it attempts is incredibly weak and, for those who want quotable jokes, there aren’t any to speak of. In the greater scheme of things, those are minor complaints because Cool Runnings is enjoyable and more importantly it’s ice cool.

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