Rush Blu-ray Review
I don’t know why it’s so hard to make a successful racing movie. The popularity of NASCAR suggests the audience exists for the particular genre, but it just doesn’t seem like racing movies appeal to the movie going public. And normally, people like sports movies, especially when their heroes risk life and death for their sport. After all, race car drivers risk their lives every time they get on the track. But after sitting through RUSH, I’ve decided that one factor might be that racecar drivers just aren’t likeable characters, or at least Hollywood hasn’t figured out how to make them likeable. RUSH is a decent film featuring some great cinematography and nifty race sequences, but it failed to connect on a deeper level and ended up feeling a little empty.
RUSH focuses on the 1970’s rivalry between Formula 1 drivers James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Unless you’re an older fan of Formula 1 racing or just a sports nut, you probably aren’t familiar with the story. That might be another problem with the film; not many people can relate to a 40 year-old niche rivalry in a mostly European sport. To quickly summarize, Hunt was the dashing British driver that loved the sport, but loved the fame more while Niki was obsessed with the sport and never really cared for the fame. The two came up through the ranks together and were seemingly obsessed with beating the other for almost a decade. RUSH focuses on the 1976 season, when Niki Lauda was severely injured in a race, paving the way for James Hunt to compete for the championship.
There’s really one glaring issue with the film in that the audience never really knows who they should be rooting for. We want to like James Hunt because Chris Hemsworth is dashing and charismatic, but it felt like Howard was trying his damnedest to make us not like him. For most of the film, Hunt was a shallow, drunk womanizer. Likewise, it was nearly impossible for the audience to like Niki Lauda because he wasn’t good looking or charming, but it felt like Ron Howard was doing everything he could to make us like him. Lauda is the one that had the setback and had to find a way to overcome a seemingly impossible obstacle. In the end, I didn’t like either of them and was indifferent during the final race as I didn’t really care who won. The race scenes were fantastic and some of the best ever put on film, but it’s hard to get too into a race when you don’t care about the outcome.
Another misstep with the film was the development of Niki Lauda. The decision he made at the end of the movie defined him as a man and as a human, and was a far cry from where he started earlier in the film. Unfortunately, not enough time was spent on his transformation and his development failed to connect with the audience. Instead, a lot of time was spent on James Hunt, who didn’t progress at all during the film and if anything, he regressed during the third act. I understand that Chris Hemsworth commands the screen and it’s hard not to focus on him, but a few directing or editing changes here and there could have swayed the audience’s emotions to one character or the other. RUSH is a movie that really needs the audience to connect to its characters and Ron Howard didn’t do an adequate job of accomplishing that.
With a few exceptions, Ron Howard has probably given us as good of a film as possible given the story. The problem is that the characters in the film just aren’t that likeable and the story isn’t that relatable. It was fun to watch the racing scenes and Howard directed them beautifully, but it wasn’t enough to save the film from itself.
RUSH BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: Continuing with Universal’s recent trend, RUSH looks fantastic on Blu-ray. The film has a vey unique style and the colors and different saturations really shine through on this transfer.
Audio: The audio was just as impressive.
Race for the Checkered Flag: The Making of rush (31:57): This is much more than your typical fluff piece and it actually covers most of the filmmaking process, from writing the script to casting the leads to crafting the style of the time period. It’s well worth the 30 minute investment for fans of the film.
The Real Story of Rush (18:58): This isn’t quite as exhaustive as I would have liked a real life examination to be and a lot of this focused on the reality of Formula 1 racing. I did like the look into the real Hunt and Lauda.
Deleted Scenes (11:03): There are ten scenes in total and none of them make any impact on the film.