Review: LET'S GO, JETS! チア☆ダン (2017) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Review: LET'S GO, JETS! チア☆ダン (2017)

(L-R) Yui (Hirona Yamazaki) Hikari (Suzu Hirose) and Ayano (Ayami Nakajo) in LET'S GO, JETS! (2017)

Based on the true story of the cheer dance team from Fukui Commercial High School in Japan, the movie revolves around Hikari (Suzu Hirose) who wants to join the cheer dance club for the sake to impress her crush Mackenyu (Kosuke Yamashita). Soon, she realises the person-in-charge for the cheer dance club happens to be Kaoruko Saotome (Yuku Amami), the no-nonsense coach who is known for her harsh training method. Over the course of the training, Saotome appoints Ayano Tamaki (Ayami Nakajo) as the club leader to oversee the entire team (among them are Hirona Yamazaki's Yui Kito, Miu Tomita's Taeko Azuma and Haruka Fukuhara's Ayumi Nagai) as they learn to shape up for the forthcoming National Dance Alliance (NDA) National Championship in the United States.

REVIEW: Upon watching LET'S GO, JETS! in the cinema, I can't help to think this movie looks like a Japanese version of BRING IT ON, the 2000 high-school cheerleading comedy starring Kirsten Dunst. So, if you're looking to watch some exhilarating cheer dancing set pieces in this movie, it's best to keep your expectation low since director Hayato Kawai is more interested in the characters' point-of-view. In fact, the cheer dancing sequences here are pretty straightforward and I dare to say, more grounded than the slick Hollywood counterparts.

Tamio Hayashi's screenplay, in the meantime, is essentially a typical zero-to-hero underdog story that we have seen countless times before. Still, even if a movie leaves no clichés unturned, that doesn't mean it has to be disappointingly mundane altogether. Thankfully, LET'S GO, JETS! manages to be fairly entertaining after all.

Kaoruko Saotome (Yuki Amami) and Hikari (Suzu Hirose) during a training sequence in LET'S GO, JETS! (2017)

Sure, the movie gets off to a shaky start while some of the comedy moments tend to get either too cringy or try too hard to be funny. The two-hour length could have used some trimming here, particularly during the protracted middle act. Then, there are some characters' personal arcs that fail to flesh out completely. For instance, a scene involving Taeko Azuma's family problem with her mother (Tamae Ando) is only shown in a hasty manner.

Despite some of the shortcomings, the movie does benefit from an appealing cast. Suzu Hirose, best known for 2016's CHIHAYAFURU PART 1 & 2, is instantly likeable and affable as Hikari. The rest of the young cast including Ayami Nakajo, Hirona Yamazaki and Miu Tomita are equally noteworthy while Yuki Amami is fairly adequate in her role of a strict coach as Kaoruko Saotome.

LET'S GO, JETS! offers nothing new in terms of plot and characters, but the charming cast led by Suzu Hirose manages to breathe some life into this underdog story of a cheer dancing team.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A Japanese bring it on! That sounds great! Thanks for writing this!