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Baseball is not a widely popular in the world like football or cricket, except in a few countries. I have seen many baseball movies, but I never understood the game clearly. That never stopped me enjoying the inspiration, the player's passion towards the game and the entertainment it offered. This is not the best baseball movie I have ever seen, but definitely one of the best among them. I never heard this movie before, but once came to know, I was desperate to give it a try.
Sets in when Taiwan was still under the Japanese colonial rule. A high school baseball team called Kano had never won a single game before receives a new strict disciplined coach from Japan. The team's fortune is about to change when the coach Kondo boosts his player's confidence by his method of training. With the initial struggle, they get to taste their first victory. Later the team head to Japan to represent the island in a big tournament. That brings to an end to the narration by revealing their underdog tag to winning the hearts of the fans in an unknown territory with their great consistence performances.
"Don't think about winning. Think about not losing. Then you will have all the strength you need."
An inspiring movie, about the self-confidence and hard work. But I had my disappointments as well with its exaggerated screen presentation. In the many parts, the sentimental cinematic overdose without the realistic appeal made me consider it is nothing less than a commercial film. You know, making the tight fist, teeth biting, sharp look, those things give the audience unnecessary goosebumps. Maybe if you're a native, it might give a patriotic uplift. Other than that I loved the background score, very pleasing camera work and the countryside location, good performances by all, very decent direction and overall a satisfying movie,.
Historical subject means, there should always be some amount of graphics to recreate the past eras and this film had a weakness in that field, but those parts were totally ignorable which mostly comes in the backgrounds. I think 180 minutes is a too long for these days films. That's an achievement for you if you succeed watching without losing your focus. We can comfortably sit for that long for a commercial movie, because commercial films means entertainment, but this one was depicting the real story and for a sports movie it does not look good. I am saying that because of the third act and the ending.
Knowing the history through a movie is good, better than learning in the school, but when it tumbles to meet the viewer's expectation, surely trouble arises. Because all the people are not the same to accept whatever the movie delivers, simultaneously being practical to original events is very essential. If it avoided those cinematic gimmicks, I would have considered it an unexpected masterpiece. I love this movie for being just a movie and historical account, but I expected more honest with the screen presentation. An a movie fanatic, I definitely recommend it, but personally, I let you decide yourself. Because the way it ends, most people easily get upset for spending 3 hours.