One of the genres that has gained traction over the last decade in the Korean peninsula is the sports film. In international cinema the sports film has had an interesting development and has certainly caught on more than numerous other genres. Westerns for example, are popular in America but have had limited appeal overseas, although this did not stop Kim Ji-woon from taking his chances with The Good, the Bad and the Weird. The sports film has found success in most successful national cinemas. Britain has long been a source of them, films such as Chariots of Fire (1981) and The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962) have long been considered classics and recently films coming out of Germany, The Miracle of Bern (Das Wunder von Bern, 2003), and China, the uproarious Shaolin Soccer (Siu lam juk kau, 2001), have found large audiences.
The second-highest grossing film of the year (after Haeundae), Take Off is the most successful sport film to come out of Korea so far. As much as I was looking forward to watching this, I found myself very disappointed for the very same reasons that many people disliked Haeundae: the set up is long and uneven (and melodramatic) but the lengthy exposition does add somewhat to the more genre-centric final act. So it does end well, but the journey for me was a little uncomfortable despite my having an unusually high tolerance for mediocre Korean cinema.
This is one of those Korean films that is difficult to appreciate as a foreigner, the most egrigious block to viewing it as a native English speaker is listening to the main character (a Korean-American) speak the most atrocious English I've ever heard. It just might be worth sitting through it for the olympics sequences though, they are very well put together and quite exiting. Just don't get me started on the mentally-handicapped brothe