Based on a true story, this feel-good yet emotional film starts off in 2002 in South Korea and ends in 2003 at the Asian Winter Games in Aomori, Japan. Throughout the film we meet a bunch of misfits who make up South Korea’s first ever national ice hockey team. A middle school student, an office worker and a North Korean defector are some of the women who come together to make history.
When the women’s ice hockey team is first created, it’s clear that the cards are stacked against them. Their coach is a lazy man who would rather go drinking with friends than get a proper job. Their uniform was used and second hand from the junior men’s team, their names still embroidered on the back. Only two members of the team were previously international athletes and to make matters worse they were constantly fighting.
Little by little, they started to get better. Although they had some early setbacks, such as being beaten by elementary school kids, they didn’t give up. Even when they discovered that the Chairman never had any intention of having the South Korean women’s ice hockey team play in the Games, the whole team persuaded him to let them compete. We loved this feeling of camaraderie and wish more films were like this sometimes!
Although this wasn’t a romance film, there was most certainly a love story. The love between two sisters, separated when Lee Ji-Won had to defect with her father to South Korea, thus leaving younger sister Lee Ji-Hye behind. What was probably most heartbreaking of all was seeing the North Korean team ruthlessly attacking Ji-Won for being a traitor and her sister, who made it onto the North Korean team, acted as if she hated her. Yet at the end, they forgave each other and shared a tear-jerking goodbye. Luckily, they were able to see each other again at the next National games.
Although this film is not your typical Korean movie, its nonetheless worth a watch. You’ll fall in love with the characters right from the beginning and the ending really puts you in good spirits. Although it is loosely based off true events, the South Korean women’s ice hockey team’s struggle was real. Being able to see it on the big screen left a big impact on us.
Featured Image Source: Official Poster for Take Off 2, 17.02.17, imgrun.net