When Jamaican sprinter Derice Bannock is attempting to follow in his fathers Olympic footsteps he is disqualified from the race when fellow runners trip and fall. He then hears his father was asked by Irving Blitzer many years before to be part of the first Jamaican Bobsled Team.
This has always been a film that I have enjoyed watching since I can remember which I am guessing is not really too long after the film came out. Us 90s kids love anything with John Candy right? Of course he was in so many early 90s films that you cannot help but love him.
Irv was a former winter Olympic champion but now wasting his life in Jamaica gambling and drinking. He was actually stripped of his gold medals but that is not something we are told right away. He wanted to win too much that he resorted to cheating and being disgraced from the United States. When Derice pushes the idea of the Winter Olympics in 1988 they manage to put together a team with his best friend Sanka and two fellow sprinters Yul Brenner and Junior Bevil.
The reason behind the bobsled team? Well, Irv felt that sprinters would be great as the speed they can run and start off the event. So I guess we can really appreciate the transfer of skills from one sporting event to another. The fact they are from a Caribbean country where it is always hot is obviously the biggest problem. This therefore creates some very amusing moments in the film especially when they first arrive in Canada and have never been that cold before.
The issues they face stem from that fact of where they come from and no one can possibly take them seriously. Doubled with the fact Irv is disgraced within the sport and they will have to work ten times harder than everyone else to even earn a tiny bit of respect. That is though what the team managed to do and in such style as well. (At the actual Olympics that year though they were met with open arms bu the other international bobsledding teams but I guess that wouldn’t make the story as inspirational.)
Sanka constantly making up songs certainly does make the film even better giving the men their own unique identity. Junior goes through many different emotions as he is attempting to break free from the life his father is trying to set him up with. Wanting to be his own man and do what he loves instead. Derice’s obsession with winning an Olympic gold medal is very high and apparently if you are nothing without it you won’t ever be anything with it. Just casually placing a quote from the film within the review.
I have lost count of the number of times I have seen this film over the years and think it really is inspirational alongside being a whole lot of fun as well. The Olympics in 1988 certainly had some stories as that was the same year Eddie the Eagle representing Great Britain! This was John Candy’s final film that was released before his death five months later.