Cool Runnings Review

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The true story of the first Jamaican bobsleigh team. Derice is a sprinter who, after a fall in trials fails to be picked for the Olympic squad. Having heard that sprinters make good bobsleighers, he sets about getting a team together asking friends Sanka, and Junior and fellow sprinter Yul and searches out disgraced former Olympic bobsleigh champion Irv Blitzer to coach the team.


Disney’s latest family comedy is another hugely corny affair that promises more than it delivers but still had this reviewer dabbing at the odd happy tear, thanks more to its engaging performances than to any notable hilarity in the sugary script. Inspired by the heartwarming improbability of a Jamaican bobsled team who in real life captivated the world watching the 1988 Winter Olympics, this is an otherwise totally fictitious and — surprise, surprise — cute tale of daring to dream the impossible dream and being the best that you can be.

Handsome Leon runs the show as Derice, a sprint hopeful whose fall in the Olympic trials leaves him devastated until he hears a theory that runners make powerful bobsledders. Enlisting fellow hopefuls zany, dreadlocked Sanka Coffie (Doug), mean, moody, bald Yul Brenner (Yobe) and repressed rich kid Junior (Lewis), the quartet practise their sled moves to reggae under the tutelage of has-been Olympian in-need-of-redemption John Candy. You can guess most of the rest: the ridicule turned to respect, the fallings-out turned to comradeship, the rusty old sled turned into a gleaming bullet carrying the hopes of a poor but proud nation, etc.

Add in lots of speeches about Jamaican pride, some icy downhill thrills, plus the attraction of lots of shots of tight butts in clinging lycra skinsuits and what you get — despite the paucity of good jokes — is a good-natured feel good antic that comes off pleasingly enough as Four Rockys On Ice.

Cheesy? Certainly. But strong performaces and a heart-warming storyline make this a winner.