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[What to Watch] Game, set, match: Three great sports films to watch

By Kim Da-sol

Published : May 4, 2024 - 16:01

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Sports films inevitably have their cliches -- underdog stories, training montages, the inspiring pep talk and, of course, ultimately reaching a satisfying conclusion regardless of the last game's outcome.

But just like the sports themselves, the movies offer the audience unpredictable elements and sometimes even a twist on the big screen. A detailed replication of an actual sports scene in a cinematic way is another perk of the genre. Rivalry, adversity and masculinity are common themes to explore through the lens of a sports film.

Below are some of the best sports films available to watch now that portray endorphin-stimulating scenes while sensitively touching on detailed human emotion.

"Challengers" (Warner Bros. Korea)

Challengers (2024)

This tennis-based romantic drama from Luca Guadagnino, starring Zendaya, Josh O'Connor and Mike Faist, follows tennis player-turned-coach Tashi (Zendaya), who successfully makes her husband a world-famous champion. But tension soon surfaces in the couple as her ex-boyfriend Patrick (Josh O'Connor), who is also formerly her husband’s best friend, reappears on the court.

The movie flows with a solid, tight narrative, offering a phenomenal and unexpected ending that may disappoint some in the audience looking for a thrilling sports movie where there must always be a winner.

“Challengers” is playing in theaters now.

"Iron Mask" (The Coup Distribution)

Iron Mask (2023)

"Iron Mask" -- the Korean title of which translates as “One-Ten-Thousandth of a Second” -- follows the story of Kim Jae-woo (Joo Jong-hyuk), who joins an intense training camp to be selected for the national kendo team. There he encounters Tae-su (Moon Jin-seung), who had killed Jae-woo's older brother years ago.

“Iron Mask” doesn’t only focus on Jae-woo's inner struggles, but also on the kendo competition, with close-ups of the masked faces, shouts of concentration, the sound of the kendo swords colliding and the contrast of the dark navy and white kendo uniforms against the dull wooden floor.

“Iron Mask” is available on Coupang Play, Naver Series On and YouTube.

"Baseball Girl" (M-Line Distribution)

Baseball Girl (2020)

In this South Korean sports drama written and directed by Choi Yoon-tae, Soo-in (Lee Joo-young) is a female baseball player with dreams of making it to play professional baseball.

Although she is a top-notch player who throws at 130 kilometers per hour, she finds only hurdle after hurdle while still playing on her high school baseball team. One source of hope comes when her logical-minded new coach Choi offers her words of support with a useful tip: If you can’t overpower the boys with your fastball, throw something they can’t hit -- a knuckleball.

“Baseball Girl” is streaming on Watcha and Tving.