By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B (3 stars)
20TH CENTURY FOX
From producer, Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, Kingsman: The Secret Service) and director, Dexter Fletcher (Wild Bill, Sunshine on Leith) comes Eddie the Eagle, a sports drama based on the true story of British underdog turned Olympics ski jumping superstar, Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards. I find it amusing that we had two movies about the Olympic Games released in two weeks, the other one being Race.
I knew very little about the actual story when coming into this movie, but seeing how I’m a huge fan of Matthew Vaughn’s work in the past and Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) already won me over with his Kingsman role. So I was coming into the movie to enjoy a film and not focus much on accuracy, and in terms of being an entertaining movie, Eddie the Eagle does it well.
Most of what makes the film enjoyable is the chemistry between its main stars, Egerton and Hugh Jackman (X-Men franchise, The Prestige, Chappie) and its feel-good story about an underdog who achieves his lifelong dream, thus resulting in a truly inspiring film. Granted I liked Kingsman more but for a second helping of Taron Egerton after his breakout performance from Kingsman, it’s pretty solid.
The film follows Michael “Eddie” Edwards (Egerton), a young man from Britain who ever since he was a boy dreams of becoming an Olympian at the Olympic Games. After several failed attempts in hurdle jumping, javelin throwing, and other Olympic related sports and his father not believing in him, Eddie remains determined to participate in the Olympics and prove everyone wrong.
But upon hearing about the Winter Olympics, he decides to become the first British ski-jumper. However, there’s just one problem, he’s not very good at it, but does that hold him back? No.
In comes former ski-jumping champion, Bronson Peary (Jackman) who agrees to help Eddie train to become a professional ski-jumper for the Olympics. From learning how to jump from the 15, 70, and 90 meter slopes to properly landing, Eddie and Bronson are determined to transform Eddie from a nobody to an Olympics superstar.
After several successes and failures, they make it to the Olympics where Eddie has one chance to make a difference, by successfully jumping off the 90-meter slope.
Overall, Eddie the Eagle is an inspirationally entertaining film, granted it’s nothing new when it comes to the sports drama genre, we’ve seen several of these stories before. But what makes the film shine is the chemistry between Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman.
Basically Jackman is like the Mr. Miyagi to Egerton’s Daniel LaRusso from The Karate Kid, if Mr. Miyagi was a drunken ex-athlete who’s fool of himself. Fortunately, Jackman pulls off his performance very well, he even manages to be funny at times, plus I find it strange hearing him with an American accent without Wolverine claws.
I also find it refreshing that Eddie doesn’t care about finishing 1st Place at the Olympics, but rather just participate to make his family and friends proud. Most sports dramas I’ve seen usually have the athletes participate for fame and fortune, granted Eddie is famous, but he’s mostly just happy to be there to jump.
Granted I don’t consider it to be Matthew Vaughn’s strongest work as a director or producer, I still thought Kingsman and Kick-Ass were better films in his filmography, but it’s far from being terrible, it’s a decent movie that’s inspirational and entertaining. About the same opinion I had on Race last weekend, it’s no game-changing sports drama, but it’s a solid film that represents the man who ski-jumped to glory.