Five men go for the gold as members of Korea's national ski jumping team.
From the same director
Jung-woo Ha (Cha Heon-tae), Dong-il Sung (Coach Bang), Ji-seok Kim (Kang Chil-goo), Dong-wook Kim (Choi Heung-cheol), Jae-eung Lee (Kang Bong-goo), Han-wi Lee (President Ma), Hye-suk Lee (Bob's birth mother), Hana Hwang (Ji-Eun), Jae-Hwan Choi (Jae-bok), Jyu-ni Hyun (as Jyu-ni Hyeon), Eun-seong Lee (Su-yeon), Geum-hee Lee, Se-Rang Lee, Seol-ah Lee (Hye-ra), Dong-seok Ma, Miles Meili (Sportscaster (voice)), Joe Seo (Translator), Wesley Stiller (Bruce), Richard L. Wilson (Finnish sportscaster)
Yong-hwa Kim (writer)
Based on a true story, Take Off is an inspirational sports action film. In 1996 a small Korean town, Muju City is bidding for winter Olympics. Since Koreans do not have adequate number of athletes to compete at the Winter Olympics the national committee decides to form a ski jump team to be able to mount an Olympic bid. The coach that is hired by the local committee who was actually nothing at teaching kids and who does not even how to spell ski jump (he writes sky instead of ski)has to find four youngsters because nobody wants to do it. The first candidate he picks is Bob James,an American citizen adopted to America with his sister when he was little. Bob apparently has some junior experience as he was once selected as the MVP at all America's Alpine Ski Competition.Though Bob isn't so eager to join the team because he feels chagrined at the fact that he feels he was dumped by Korea when he was just a little kid,he merely hopes to find his biological mother along the way.The second fellow,Heung-cHeol is a junkie who frequently buys Luminal by feigning illness. The third guy has to look after his retarded brother and his grandmother so he thinks the cash reward will do him good. The fourth fellow is a subservient fellow who always obeys his father's will. He has a Chinese girlfriend who is an illegal alien. He hopes he will be exempted from the military service if he becomes a national athlete. While a large scale construction is going on for the Olympics in Muju City, the national ski jump team doesn't even have a jump tower and they have to do physical training in primitive ways. They try to keep their bodily balance on a vehicle that is doing 90 kilometers per hour on the motorway,they try to take skiing position up there on the trees by using ropes and they jump from the 30 meter makeshift ramp track. They finally get to Berlin for the world cup but when Bob and his friends are engaged in a donnybrook with the US team, both teams get disqualified. His junkie friend tells him there "You're neither Korean nor American.What are you?An invisible man?"
This clearly adds insult to injury. Just when their hopes are down,the committee cancels the remaining events which allows all the teams to complete in the Olympics.Unfortunately,when the team is back in Korea,they realize they were just a show to host the Olympics. When Muju's application is turned down by reason of the insufficiency of the winter sports popularity and the absence of the official sport the committee drops the whole case but the boys and the coach don't give up and they accept to go to the 1998 Winter Olympics Nagano, Japan at their own expense. Even if Korea gets the 13th Place at the Olympics, the dogged,single-minded determination of these youngsters fill the whole country with genuine admiration. As a success story from scratch, the movie is truly inspirational,dramatic,entertaining and optimistic albeit a bit overlong and sometimes predictable. The acting is superb though someone who was adopted to America when he was just a little kid should have a far better accent than that. This movie is a must-see for anyone in any country where people are bound to have a sneaking admiration for medallion winners of other countries because their country doesn't invest enough money and trust in the potential of its own people.
11 wins & 6 nominations
Blue Dragon Awards • Chunsa Film Art Awards • Director's Cut Awards • Grand Bell Awards, South Korea • Korean Association of Film Critics Awards • Max Movie Awards, South Korea
Gukga daepyo ((original title)) • Nemzeti válogatott (Hungary) • National Team (South Korea (literal English title)) • Ski Jump (South Korea) • Jump Broadly (World-wide (alternative title) (English title)) • Take Off (World-wide (English title))
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