Search LoveHKFilm.com
Site Features
- Asian Film Awards
- Site Recommendations

- Reader Poll Results

- The Sponsor Page
- The FAQ Page
 
support this site by shopping at
Click to visit YesAsia.com
Asian Blu-ray discs at YesAsia.com
 
 
 
 
 
Jump! Ashin
Jump! Ashin

Eddie Peng hits the rings in Jump! Ashin.
Chinese: 翻滚吧!阿信
Year: 2011
Director: Lin Yu-Hsien  
Writer: Lin Yu-Hsien, Wang Li-Wen, Wang Kuo-Kuan
Cast:

Eddie Peng Yu-Yan, Ko Yue-Lun, Zaizai Lin, Chen Han-Dian, Pan Li-Li, Hsia Ching-Ting, Long Shao-Hua

The Skinny: Based on a true story - which is pretty tough to believe. Jump! Ashin strains credibility thanks to its convenient plot devices, though the narrative leaps are supposedly the stuff of fact. The fine performances (from Eddie Peng and Ko Yue-Lun) and solid emotions compensate. A very likable film.
   
Review
by Kozo:
Ashin loves gymnastics. As a kid, he was quickly hooked and as an adult it’s his number one love. Yes, more than girls, and this is despite looking like Eddie Peng and probably having his pick of women in his rural Taiwan town. However, Ashin’s mother (Pan Li-Li) disapproves of gymnastics and asks that Ashin give it up to run the family fruit stand for, well, eternity. Ashin does, but soon becomes a delinquent, hanging with buddy Pickles (Lawrence Ko Yue-Lun) and getting into all sorts of trouble. Pickles becomes a drug addict and the two run afoul of a gang boss’ son (Chen Han-Dian), so Ashin and Pickles flee to Taipei and continue their thug lifestyle. But gymnastics is always there, calling to Ashin like a long-lost love. Eventually, Ashin chooses to return home and back to the pommel horse, but can a loser like Ashin still find it in himself to become a medal-winning gymnast? And hey, isn’t this a totally ridiculous premise?

It sounds like one, but Jump! Ashin is based on a true story so, uh, there has to be truth here. The known facts: director Lin Yu-Hsien is the real Ashin's younger brother, and Lin Yu-Shin did quit gymnastics, run with a gang, see bad things and finally return to the gymnastics floor. However, did the real-life Ashin really witness a murder? Did he really use his gymnastics skills to kick ass in entertaining Jackie Chan-like ways? Did he really receive help from shady characters to return to the gymnastics floor? Jump! Ashin plays with facts to tell its inspirational tale but the parts that are likely manufactured stick out conspicuously. Ashin's tale moves too quickly, from his rural home to the mean streets of Taipei and back, and features too much convenience and too many far-fetched plot devices. Consistency is an issue, as the film jumps from light to dark and back again while still retaining a nostalgic, affectionate and presumably realistic tone. On the surface it may work, but further examination reveals numerous cracks.

Luckily, the film is very well acted. Eddie Peng has the right physicality for Ashin, and he certainly worked to achieve it. The actor honed his body to convincing athletic form, with the added bonus being that his sculpted bod will delight a certain portion of the audience. At the same time, his performance is emotionally grounded, and he's got screen charisma to spare. Peng balances quirky likability with heartthrob appeal, and continues to affirm his potential star status. As his pal Pickles, Lawrence Ko turns in the film's strongest performance, and creates a pathetic and also honorable character with convincing emotion. Other supporting performances are entertaining if not accomplished. Zaizai Lin possesses a fine sincerity as the likely manufactured love interest; she plays a call center operator who supports Ashin anonymously – a character that's narratively likable but also completely unbelievable.

It's these difficult-to-buy parts that mar Jump! Ashin. The film comes with the weight of a “true story,” so losing credibility hurts more than if this were a purely fiction film. However, if one looks past the screenwriting shortcuts, odd narrative jumps and obvious commercialism, there is still much to like. The film's inspirational spirit remains strong, and the platitudes and conveniences are easier to swallow when the actors sell them with such conviction and sincerity. Also, the film’s early nineties period is entertainingly recreated, and the film’s largely rural setting evokes a genial warmth. The script may have narrative problems, but the direction is solid; Lin Yu-Hsien avoids the ham-handed or pretentious when doling out the drama, and even though the dialogue is sometimes on the nose, it's usually uttered at the right time and by the right actors. More discerning or cynical audiences could find Jump! Ashin to be too easy, too pat and too damn nice. But for the majority, Jump! Ashin's earnest and recognizable emotions should easily please. (Kozo, reviewed at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival, 2011)

   
Availability: DVD (Taiwan)
Region 3 NTSC
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Mandarin Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1

Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
Find this at YesAsia.com
 

image credit: Hong Kong Asian Film Festival

   
   
LoveHKFilm.com Copyright ©2002-2012 Ross Chen