I remember back in 1990 when this film was released, and the hype that it generated. I've been a racecar fan since I've been born, and I've been watching races for like more than 15 years. I was eight years old back then, and when the film was released, I was so excited, I was all the time at school talking to my friends about it and asking who had seen it. Some of the kids liked it, and someÖ well at that time; I thought that they just bashed the movie because they were not racecar fans. Yet I never went to see it at the theater, and as far as I can remember, the film didn't last in theaters too long. But I was adamant, I wanted to buy the film, and I did, and since I was just a brat, I liked it, and thought it was great. But guess what, I got bigger, and then I saw what does other kids and other race fans older than I had seen. My eyes opened, and I was disappointed, pissed, and ripped off. All of that thanks to my ignorance as a child and the hype that has a much more deeper effect on a child than on a grownup.Businessman and car dealer Tim Daland (Randy Quaid) persuades old friend Harry Hodge (Robert Duvall) to get out of retirement and build him a car since he wants to start a new team in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series, and hires after a very intense test drive a young sprint car champion Cole Trickle (Tom Cruise). So the team is build and Hodge starts again as usual, as crew chief and car builder, and Daland as car owner and sponsor (his dealership). Of course there are bullies in the sport, first one Rowdy Burns (Michael Rooker), who gives rookie Cole a hard time. So Hodge and Cole, must deal with their differences and the pressure to build the team up into top form and go win races. It happens, and wins his first win at Darlington, his first of 5 wins and Cole becomes a sensation. But then he and Rowdy bash each other like dogs too much that at Daytona, they both suffer a very bad crash. In the hospital, Cole and Rowdy seek help from Doctor Claire Lewicki (Nicole Kidman), so they can regain their nerve and go back to racing, but then a new bully arrives in town, Russ Wheeler (Cary Ewles), and Cole must face him, and face his own feelings, including his newfound love with Claire, so he can be back on the winning spot.
"Not Good, Even If You Aren't A Race Car Fan."
So what was wrong in this film? Well, lets begin first with the realism of the film. I mean seriously if you want to do a racecar film, the cars not only have to be as realistic as possible, but also the races have to be realistic. The filmmakers accomplished the first one, but evaded the last one. Fatal error, how the fuck would you want to take the racing realism off the film? Just watch the scenes where they race at Daytona, and if you're an experienced race fan you'll immediately point out that the racing sequences are just total shit from clay. Realistically, at Daytona, the cars will always be bunched up into tight packs due to the restrictor plates on the cars (since itís a 2.5 mile track and corners are banked at 31 degrees, speeds can reach 200 MPH), passing can only be done if a car pulls up behind you and give you a push. Any bumping or brushing can result in the car loosing control and wreck, and take everyone else with him. Just watch the race and youíll see.
The movie unfortunately doesnít stick with the facts and cars get brushed and pushed, and still the cars race on and on, as if nothing had happened, thereís not a single realistic race action in the film. Those Daytona sequences, even for the casual viewer, they're simply unbelievable. Trust me, if these guys ever try to pull up that type of shit of brushing and pushing in real life, NASCAR would be all over them. And if you know a person that is capable of seeing something while driving in his car through a pillow of smoke, and at nearly 200 MPH, then please e-mail me because I want to meet him.
Second, whoever did the damn editing in this film deserves to be shot, because the footage that comes with the racing scenes is so fucking misrepresented and so out of place that can really piss off a race car fan AND a casual viewer. I mean, why the hell are you going to put a subtitle that says "Rockingham North Carolina," when the damn footage of the race is from DAYTONA?
The Phoenix race has traces of Daytona (No way the damn race track is banked that high, for a 1 mile oval). Or Atlanta, that at least had a screenshot right, but after that they show you footage from the race that comes from other damn races. Worse, North Wilkesboro, a .633 mile oval, with 12 degree bank, if you see the damn footage, and see those steep banks, do you seriously think thatís 12 degrees, and go that fast? That was total bullshit, and one of the worst ways of making a film under budgeted. At least they got the Bristol race right, well kind of right.
Third. The way the cars looked during, and after the race. Sure the cars look realistic, and they do. But during the race, we see that the cars end up very dirty, like they ran over some mud puddles or shit. How pathetic, supposedly to disguise the cars sponsors or some shit like that. Watch a real fucking NASCAR race, or the damn highlights on FOX, and try noticing a dirty car like the ones depicted in the film. No race car get so dirty after four hours of racing dammit, unless they're running a 24 hour race, now I can buy that, but not this.
Ok, enough with the racing accuracy shit, but why, thatís the heart of the film is it? So in other words the racing here is totally fucked up. ANYWAYS, anyone care for the plot? Its worthless, with the racing stuff screwed up, its total trash. Take away the racing sequences and you're left with a totally worthless bullshit love story. The performances are fine, mostly from Robert Duvall, who did his best despite the script. Also Tom Cruise is average, and the rest of the cast too. But Tom, since you wrote the script, why not next time do some extensive research on the sport before doing the film, instead of taking into some wild and un-fucking-believable idea on how the sport is run, and make it into one fake crash fest that will only piss off not only race fans, but every casual viewer who turns over the TV to see this movie.In the end, I can't recommend this movie because of the shit that I found and you'll find when you see it. I mean by the way itís screwed up, itís not really worth it, unless you want to totally experience auto racing the wrong way. Oh, was there anything good about this film? Besides Robert Duvall, the sound was great (thatís the other star), enough to "CRANK IT UP!!!"
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=1625&reviewer=235
originally posted: 04/23/01 12:02:02