Saturday 17 February 2018

Movie Review: Days Of Thunder (1990)

A sports drama and romance, Days Of Thunder is a sophomoric redux of Top Gun with fast cars replacing fast fighter jets.

Car dealership owner Tim Daland (Randy Quaid) convinces semi-retired engine builder Harry Hogge (Robert Duvall) to get back into NASCAR racing and mentor hot new driver Cole Trickle (Tom Cruise). Harry reluctantly agrees, as Cole proves to be naturally talented but clueless about car mechanics and race craft.

On-track Cole tangles frequently with aggressive driver Rowdy Burns (Michael Rooker), until he finally starts to listen to Harry and learns how to win. But a big crash sends both Cole and Rowdy into hospital, where Cole meets and starts a relationship with neurosurgeon Dr. Claire Lewicki (Nicole Kidman). With Cole temporarily out of commission, hot new rookie Russ Wheeler (Cary Elwes) gets a chance to prove himself, and soon he is challenging Cole for on-track supremacy.

Producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson, director Tony Scott and star Tom Cruise get back together to retell an overly-family story: the naturally talented but raw and troubled young man with all the determination in the world who just needs a mentor to guide him to his true potential. Days Of Thunder of course also throws in the cheesy romance with the beautiful woman in a position of authority, this time Nicole Kidman convincing no one as a neurosurgeon.

Deprived of the opportunity to film elegant fighter jets against orange skies, Tony Scott is confined to the grittiness of the race track, and he makes all the wrong choices. NASCAR is reduced to a ridiculous jousting contest, drivers using their cars as weapons at every opportunity, dangerous manoeuvres the order of the day as the competitors routinely look to crash each other and "put him in the wall".

The characters are shallow, the emotions derived from the self-help pop-psychology bargain bin, and the final triumph as obvious as it is hollow. None other than Robert Towne wrote the banal script, which mostly consists of cliched lines.

Duvall does his best to inject undeserved gravitas, and despite the familiarity of the material Cruise exudes his special brand of star power, although here it veers towards self-parody.

Days Of Thunder is a race of blunders, going around in predictable circles.

All Ace Black Blog Movie Reviews are here.

1 comment:

  1. i think if I were to see this, I'd end up loathing it. but anyhow, I'll give it a go as I've never seen it before.


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