Take Off Movie Review
‘Take Off’ is a new Korean Sports drama that has successfully reached the second spot top ten box office smashes for three weeks. The movie’s mixture of underdog achievement, good sports sequences and plenty of characterization makes this movie a hit, not to mention the happy ending.
Much like the movie ‘Cool Runnings’ (and those who have seen both will find it highly amusing trying to hunt down similar moments in both movies), ‘Take Off’ features a ragtag team of people in a sport they’ve never done before trying to win honor for their country.
The movie, loosely following a true story, centers around four South Koreans trying to help bring the Winter Olympics to their country, and more specifically to their city, by winning the Ski Jump competition in Japan and thus proving that South Korea can host the Winter Olympic Games. Although the competitors have never even seen skis, let alone ski jumped (and in fact spell it Sky Jump for a while), the movie weaves through their jam packed learning, their efforts to try to get along with each other.
Like most sports movies, the real action centers on the characters. Five teammates and a coach are at the center of this drama: Bob/Cha Heon-tae (played by Ha Jeong-woo), Kang Chil-goo (played by Kim Ji-seok-I), Choi Heung-cheol (played by Kim Dong-wuk), Ma Jae-bok (played by Choi Jae-Hwan), Kang Bong-goo (played by Lee Jae-eung) and Coach Bang (played by Seong Dong-il). The team is completely mismatched: Cha Heon-tae is a Korean adoptee from the States looking for his biological mother, Choi Heung-cheol is in it to impress the coach’s daughter, and Kang Chil-goo is in it to avoid being drafted and thus leaving his orphaned brother and grandmother behind to fend for themselves. All in all, their reasons are less than pure and unselfish and often it seems as though the team is set to shatter, especially since their leader, Bob/Cha Heon-tae has no special love for the Korean people seeing as he was adopted out by his mother and has been living in America ever since.
Although far from original (and really, what sports movies are very original nowadays anyway?) and many critics grumbled that the movie was more a drama than a sports flick, ‘Take Off’ is an enjoyable movie for anyone who roots for the underdog, enjoys the drama of watching very different people being forced to get along for the good of the whole, and wants to know a bit of, albeit exaggerated, roots of the ski jumping team in South Korea. It’s perfectly acceptable for people of any age to watch and all should find some find amusement again and again. This is a movie well worth watching, either in theaters or when it hits the DVD stands, especially if you have children who are aspiring sports stars.