Review: RUSH (2013) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Review: RUSH (2013)

Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl are top notch in this entertaining but banal racing car drama.

Of late, Ron Howard's directing career has suffered a temporary setback when he made the 2011's ill-fated comedy THE DILEMMA. But rest assured, Howard is back on his feet again -- although, not entirely -- in the independently-produced RUSH.

Based on a true story of two popular Formula One adversaries James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl), both of them first encountered each other in 1970 at a Formula Three race in London. Shortly after, they become enemies especially during the 1976 competitive season, where Hunt and Lauda race against each other across the globe (including Grand Prix in Italy, Brazil, Germany and Japan) to fight for the title of World Champion.

Director Ron Howard is no stranger to movies about the dramatization of professional careers, having tackled subjects such as firefighter (1991's BACKDRAFT), newspaper reporter (1994's THE PAPER), astronaut (1995's APOLLO 13), boxing (2005's CINDERELLA MAN) and among others, with varying degree of success. In this racing car drama RUSH, Howard and his cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle does a fairly commendable job tackling all the racing sequences with equal cinematic flair. Although the racing sequences aren't as superbly engaging as I hoped for, RUSH still manages to capture the urgency of the moment (especially in some scenes where cameras are attached into the Formula One car itself) when the racing car driver zips his car around the track. Other technical credits, including Hans Zimmer's exciting music score and Mark Digby's vivid recreation of the 1970s production design, are top notch.

Cast-wise, Chris Hemsworth is perfectly typecast as the ego-centric and playboy role of James Hunt. As the cold-hearted Niki Lauda who cares more about inventing and fine-tuning a faster Formula One car, Daniel Bruhl fares even better here. In fact, his bitter rivalry against Hemsworth often brings intensity to the movie because of their wildly different personalities.

The spectacular crash sequence involving one of the racing car drivers, and the thrilling climactic rain-soaked Mount Fuji Circuit racing car scene.
Despite the movie is penned by critically-acclaimed screenwriter Peter Morgan (THE QUEEN, THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, FROST/NIXON), the plot feels surprisingly generic and also somehow lacks a certain flair to make this a great movie. As for the female cast, it's quite sad to see both Olivia Wilde (who plays Hunt's supermodel wife, Suzy) and Alexandra Maria Lara (who plays Lauda's wife, Marlene) are reduced to eye candy roles.

While RUSH is hardly a cinematic masterpiece by any means, this movie remains a satisfying biopic for a racing car drama.

No comments: