Korean Movie Review – Mr. Go (미스터 고)

There are moments in every critic’s career when doing the thing you love becomes a real chore. I found this to be the case with the DVD release of the Chinese-Korean co-production “Mr. Go” (2013), which is about a gorilla that gets scouted to play professional baseball in Korea. Nope, you read that correctly. Now do you see my predicament? Why on earth would I want to watch a film about baseball?

“Mr. Go” is the story of Wei Wei (Xu Jiao), a 15-year-old circus trainer who has spent practically every moment of her life with star gorilla Ling Ling. Wei Wei’s grandfather was an avid baseball fan who passed his love of baseball on to both Wei Wei and Ling Ling. However, when he dies in the Sichuan earthquake of 2008, he also passes on a huge gambling debt that loan sharks have come to collect.

To cover the debt, they decide they want Ling Ling, but Wei Wei refuses. Instead, renowned Korean baseball agent Seong Chung-su (Seong Dong-il) signs Ling Ling for the Doosan Bears, offering Wei Wei enough money to save her circus. Despite the protestations of the league’s commissioner, Ling Ling is a hit, scoring home runs for fun. 

How does the next-best team combat this home-run-hitting beast? By signing their own gorilla, of course! So not only do Ling Ling and Wei Wei have to deal with double-crossing agents and league commissioners who want Ling Ling removed from the game, they also have to contend with a more vicious, wild gorilla that happens to have one hell of a pitch and is owned by the Chinese loan sharks Wei Wei and Ling Ling have been trying to escape.

In the pantheon of great “animals playing sport” movies, this is right up there with “Air Bud” (1997), or possibly even “Air Bud 5: Air Bud Spikes Back.” Bear in mind, however, that I never saw Bud one-shot an entire bottle of makgeolli, so I think this just might top it! Definitely one for the whole family.

Categories: Reviews

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