Ping Pong: The Triumph is based on the true story of the Chinese men’s ping pong team.
In the early 1990s the team’s performances and spirit are very low. Dai Minjia (Chao Deng) is appointed as chief coach. He promises he’ll turn the team around within a couple of years to win the Swaythling Cup in Gothenburg. Dai forms a team from a group of players generally thought of as misfits. He and a group of coaches train the team with military precision in the style of European table tennis champions. But the team is unsuccessful and loses to the Swedish team at the championships.
The team is disbanded, and the players go home from Gothenburg in disgrace. Dai has to have spinal surgery, which immobilises him for some time. He feels like a defeated army general. His wife, Wang Yin (Li Sun), supports him and encourages him back into coaching.
The team is reassembled and goes on to play at the championships held in Tianjin in 1995. After an exciting and close match, the Chinese team win the prized Swaythling Cup.
Sport; table tennis
Ping Pong: The Triumph has some violence. For example:
- A man attacks Dai from behind and robs him. Dai gets a knock to the head and falls to the ground.
- Dai grabs a camera from a photographer and pulls the film out.
- There are some loud verbal arguments between characters.
- There’s some play fighting in the locker rooms.
- One of the young players kicks a wall in temper.
- A fight breaks out between a couple of men. One punches the other on the nose, and one throws something at a glass and smashes it.
- One of the players pulls another’s arm by the shoulder, presumably to put him off his game.
Ping Pong: The Triumph has some sexual references. For example:
- Some girls proposition Dai as he’s walking along the streets of Rome.
- Dai reaches out to his wife in bed, and she pushes him away.
- There’s some flirtation between hotel staff and Swedish players.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Ping Pong: The Triumph shows some use of substances. For example:
- There’s a lot of smoking. Most characters smoke, even in bed.
- People drink in bars, at home, at restaurants and so on.
- A player with an injured arm is given an injection of a substance so he can continue playing.
Nudity and sexual activity
Ping Pong: The Triumph has some nudity and sexual activity. For example, a man is seen in the shower, naked from the hips up.
The following products are displayed or used in Ping Pong: The Triumph: Marlborough cigarettes.
Ping Pong: The Triumph has some mild coarse language, including and ‘bastard’, ‘damn’, ‘shut up’, ‘pissed off’ and ‘hell yeah!’ There’s also name-calling and insults, including ‘stupid’, ‘monster’, ‘damn weirdo’ and ‘idiots’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Ping Pong: The Triumph is a subtitled Chinese movie about the acclaimed victory by Chinese men’s ping pong team in the 1995 championships in Tianjin.
There’s some background story to the movie, mainly centred on the coach, Dai Minjia, but its focus is on the sport of ping pong. The action scenes that show the game being played are quite spectacular to watch. Sports lovers, and ping pong lovers in particular, are likely to enjoy this movie.
But Ping Pong: The Triumph has some violence and coarse language. It’s therefore not recommended for children under 10, and we recommend parental guidance for children aged 10-12 years.
The main messages from Ping Pong: The Triumph are to keep trying and never give up on your dreams because persistence pays off.
Values in Ping Pong: The Triumph that you could reinforce with your children include teamwork, collaboration, determination, motivation and hard work.
Ping Pong: The Triumph could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like taking responsibility. For example, a young player has to admit his mistakes publicly and apologise for spreading lies. How hard is it to own up to mistakes like this?