Feel the rhythm. Feel the rhyme. Get on up. It’s bobsled time. COOL RUNNINGS! The classic film loosely based on the true story of the first ever Jamaican bobsled team. The film follows three track stars who fail to make the summer games, so, with the help of one of the runner’s pushcart driving friend, they decide to try out for a winter sport. The team makes the 1988 Olympic games in Calgary but ends up having a bad crash that earns them respect in their final run.
This is one of the funnier sports movies Disney has ever made. Hiring comedic legend John Candy to serve as the disgraced American bobsledder who serves as their coach in the film was inspired casting. Candy knew how to make any scene he was in funny. Sometimes you were laughing at him. Sometimes you were laughing because of him. But, if John Candy wanted you to laugh, he knew exactly what to do to make you burst out laughing. The four actors playing the Jamaican bobsledders are funny in their own right, and Doug E. Doug, who plays Sanka, plays off Candy very well.
Another amazing aspect to this film is how Disney incorporated real life footage into the film. The actual Jamaican bobsled team really crashed during one of their runs back in 1988. Disney used actual news footage from those Olympic games to demonstrate the crash in the final run. Between the real footage and the excellent helmet closeup, you can really feel the emotion in that moment. The final scene where the bobsledders carry the bobsled across the finish line while getting a standing ovation from the fans is a bit cheesy, but it wouldn’t be a Disney sports film without a cheesy ending.
I first watched this film when I was about 8 years old and absolutely loved it. I still keep laughing at it every time I revisit it. This film is a nice nostalgia trip for me, and I think a lot of younger viewers will enjoy it if they give it a chance.