SYNOPSIS: A Shin, a young and happy Yi-Lan country boy who was gifted in sports and was deeply attracted by gymnastics and stepped into gymnastics world coincidentally. Unfortunately, his mother was against of A Shin pursuing of his gymnastic dream and left his favourite sports team as a result. After leaving the sports team, A Shin went astray due to the cruel reality and lost himself in violent absurd years. It was not until he made up his mind to pick up gymnastics again. Experiencing the feeling in the air as A Shin jump over the vaulting horse which had made him realized the value in life (that he seized the last chance to start a new life).
It’s a tricky thing especially if you are doing a movie based on true-life events. If you take too much dramatic license with the material, you might draw the ire of the parties involved but fortunately in this case, the director and writer of “Jump Ashin!”, Lin Yu Hsien is the younger brother of the subject matter, Shin whose wayward ways never deter him from falling back in love with his passion – gymnastic.
Documented in this uplifting drama is the character of Lin Yu Hshin aka Shin (played by Eddie Peng), a country boy in Taiwan, Yilan who is attracted to the world of gymnastics since young. However, his constant injuries caused by his choice of sports become a worrying factor for his mum. Concerned for his son who had suffered polio when he was younger, Shin’s mum requested his coach to take him out of the gymnastic team. Feeling disgruntled by his mum’s action and unwillingness to help out at her fruit stall, Shin turns into street-fighting and together with his buddy, Pickle (Lawrence Ko) lands themselves in hot soup after a tussle with the son (Chen Han Dien) of a local triad boss. Will Shin managed to return back to his true passion in the end?
Director Lin packed enough laughs, action and romance into the biopic of his brother who for a start has led a far more colorful life than the average person. Of course, his romance with a telephone operator who provides him with heartwarming messages from time to time and his tragic encounter in Taipei probably belongs to the creative side of scriptwriting although the real-life Shin did admit his two years in Taipei were nothing but plain street-fighting. The pacing of the story actually suffered in the middle where lots of time is focused on the friendship between Shin and Pickle. Things did picked up a little when Shin packed his bags and return to Yilan to pursue his dreams.
For a movie that is set in the 80’s and 90’s, much effort is channeled to make the viewing experience an authentic one. The aged roadside food stalls, Shin’s house, telephone booths and pagers (an endless flow of 80’s music that includes songs from Dave Wang and Alex To) become a necessity prop to evoke the forgotten era. The good-looking Eddie Peng is terrific as Shin. Given his performances in “Cold War” and “Tai Chi Zero”, Peng looks set to surpass his acting range and his command of Hokkien and his hard work in doing his own stunts (with the clever use of camera angles and editing) in “Jump Ashin!” proves that the Canadian-Taiwanese actor is ready for the big league. Lawrence Ko who won the best supporting actor in the Asian Film Award is a scene stealer as the simplistic Pickle. Same goes to veteran actress Pan Li-li who plays the boys' widowed mum.
Filled with a motivational theme, an excellent cast and crew, “Jump Ashin!” is one of the best sports dramas in recent years despite being ultra-predictable. Highly recommended if you are tired of the constant rom-coms from Taiwan.
Lower your expectations, audio and visual is just passable for this DVD.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee