Based on the true story of director Yu-Hsien Lin’s brother, Jump Ashin! follows a talented young gymnast who is forced to give up his dream of competing in a national competition in order to help run his family’s fruit stand.
Taiwanese actor Eddie Peng nails the eye-rolling and physical fitness needed to convincingly play teenager Ashin. Stuck all day at his family’s modest grocery store, the former gymnast doesn’t waste any time getting into trouble around town with his best friend, Tsai-Bo (played by Lawrence Ko), at night. The two pick fights with whomever they can every chance they get, and there’s often humour in the way Ashin seamlessly transfers his agility on the pommel horse to high-kicking his enemies in the face. However, when Tsai-Bo—who isn’t the brightest of budding gangsters—develops a drug habit seemingly overnight and messes with the wrong guy, he and Ashin are forced to flee town for a bigger, meaner city.
Clocking in at over two hours, Jump Ashin! takes a long time to build up. Even when the action finally does start to kick in, it’s frequently interrupted by the slow-moving, unlikely love plotline between Ashin and a call-centre operator. Having said that, Peng and Ko carry the story with all the emotion that a sports-inspired drama needs, and both were nominated for Golden Horse acting awards during the 2011 Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival for their performances.
Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival presents Jump Ashin! on Saturday (June 30) at 9 p.m. and Sunday (July 1) at 4 p.m.
Watch the trailer for Jump Ashin!.