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Rush Theatrical Review
The world of motorsports comes alive with this story of two car racing rivals, Englishman James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and emerging Austrian driver Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl). Both headstrong and looking for fame, they face off for the world championship in formula 1 racing. The men awakened the racing world in 1978 with a racing competition that surprised fans around the globe. Facing off at nearly every race that year with top pole positions found Niki Lauda leading in points with Hunt on the prowl for top driver. When one racer meets with disaster midway through the season, it's the determination to make a comeback versus opportunity that decides the final reward.
While the attractive Hunt shows off his daunting reckless persona by taking chances on nearly every turn of the track, Lauda uses his skill and mental ability to keep his car on the speedway. Director Ron Howard keeps his actors intriguing with Hemsworth's Hunt showing his daredevil spirit while working his attractiveness to live the high life with women. Although he shows that Hunt's a womanizer, Howard takes us to a romantic interval where Hunt meets the beautiful Suzy Miller (Oliva Wilde), falls for her and tries to settle down.
Howard brings a different personality to the screen with Lauda played admirably by Daniel Brühl. The cunning, crafty and unwavering Lauda with the brain of an obsessed mechanic knows his cars and focuses on winning through discipline and a well tuned machine. He's a nerd when it comes to relationships, but when he finds intelligent Marlene (Alexandra Maria Lara) a romance blossoms. Bruhl plays the auto track star as a fighter on and off the track with a relentless fortitude.
Although Howard does bring a good rivalry to the screen if you are not a big fan of the drama that goes into auto racing, the thrills fade quickly. Even if you are a big fan of the zip and roar of the high performance cars the amount of it here is lacking, the romance drags the story and the popularity of the subjects lessens the likability (It's not Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt or Richard Petty).
The excitement and build up to the event with a lot of wrecks, near miss thrills and winning by inches would have been more fun had Howard been able to make a ‘Hollywood' action sports movie. It's this need for speed in the face of danger that most racing enthusiasts crave and fill seats at a raceway. But, I'm afraid the lack of it here will not fill movie auditoriums after the first weekend. Unfortunately there's more drama off the track than on the oval and in the pits.
The upside for Ron Howard's Rush comes with the documentary style true story that may earn him a nod for Best Picture Oscar contention. The acting is surely impressive, the cinematography amazing and the direction top notch. Rush is more than just putting the audience into a race car in films like Days of Thunder, Driven and Le Mans. His is a fact motivated story that tests the courage, determination and tenacity of man versus machines.
Rush has been rated R by the MPAA for sexual content, nudity, language, some disturbing images and brief drug use. Be cautious when deciding to allow immature children tag along to see the film as it does have scenes that may be very inappropriate for youngsters.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A reawakening of a spirited sport. (C+)
-- John Delia
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