To recap, we’re reviewing all the films that Michael Owen has been “forced to watch,” today’s being Cool Runnings. Or as Owen might say: “My wife and I watched that film about the bobsled team from the Caribbean.” “Jamaica?” “No, she made me!”
Owen said he watched this film “to try and impress” his partner when they were 17, apparently a hard person to impress considering he was already a professional footballer by then. “As soon as she pressed play I was in hell,” is his review. Footballers love to exaggerate.
Evidently something of a free-for-all, the 1988 Winter Olympics played host to Jamaica’s first boblsed team and Eddie the Eagle. The only thing missing was a Vatican curling squad. They could call the film Superpulpit Sweep. That this actually happened is the interesting thing. The film itself is bob-standard sports movie stuff, slipping coolly into its underdog groove and hurtling along enthusiastically.
Directed by Jon Turteltaub (The Meg), Cool Runnings has the distinction of being the only bobsledding movie, and presumably the only Disney film in which people get glassed. Leon Robinson, Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis and Malik Yoba make the team easy to root for and John Candy (in the last of his movies released in his lifetime) is likeable as a reformed bobsled denier. The movie doesn’t get tabogged down in character but the charming story carries it over the finish line.
Cool Runnings is no-frills feelgood fare. It may not have the grit of Dancehall Queen but if you’re looking for something very 90s and very Disney, then bob’s your uncle. Amiable, energetic and only slightly patronising, this is the Citizen Kane of sledge movies. Wait a second…