Gamers and Racers

Gran Turismo

Director: Neill Blomkamp

Cast: David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, Archie Madekwe, Thomas Kretchmann, Geri Horner, Oscar Nominee Djimon Hounsou, Joshua Stradowski, Darren Barnet, Pepe Barroso, Takehiro Hira, Daniel Puig

Running Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Film Rating: 7 out of 10

South African director Neill Blomkamp who scored a hit with the Oscar nominated sci-fi film District 9 in 2009 returns to the big screen with Gran Turismo his new film about a gamer Jann based in Cardiff, Wales who gets selected by Nissan marketing man Danny Moore to be trained as a Formula 1 driver with the encouragement and expertise of his manager Jack Salter wonderfully played by David Harbour (Revolutionary Road, Black Widow, Quantum of Solace).

Gran Turismo features rising British star Archie Madekwe as the young and talented PlayStation gamer Jann Mardenborough who is an expert on the game Gran Turismo. Desperate to escape his Cardiff background and breakaway from his strict footballer father Steve superbly played by Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou (In America, Blood Diamond), Jann is soon caught up in the fast paced world of international motor racing as he unknowingly becomes a pawn between Danny Moore who is desperate to please his Tokyo based bosses at Nissan and washed up American racing car driver Jack Salter.

Between Salter and Moore, they nurtured Jann to become not just a formula one driver but a winning one despite the steep and dangerous learning curve that the young man has to go through.

Not as elegant or flashy as director Ron Howard’s excellent film Rush or with as captivating performances as director James Mangold’s Oscar nominated Ford v Ferrari, Gran Turismo stumbles in the beginning as the story battles to finds its feet but once Blomkamp is in the international F1 circuit section of the storyline then the film’s action moves swiftly from Dubai to the racetracks of Europe, then this racing film relinquishes the training wheels.

Unfortunately despite the presence of Orlando Bloom (Pirates of the Caribbean, Lord of the Rings) as the sharp talking PR man Danny Moore, the male lead of the film lacks the screen power to sustain a two hour feature and at times Archie Madekwe looks lost in such a big film, although his performance is not perfect he battles with a below average script as does his more experienced co-stars.

Fortunately all the incredible racing scenes in Gran Turismo is where this film’s true strength lies and like all films made about motor racing they are primarily aimed at an audience that loves fast cars and cutting edge driving. The talented Blomkamp also has an uncanny ability to incorporate live action sequences with brilliant visual effects and Gran Turismo is no exception. The best part about this film is the razor sharp editing by Austyn Daines and Colby Parker Jr.

If you love motor racing and the PlayStation game Gran Turismo, then catch this film version in cinemas now.

Set in Cardiff, Tokyo, and Dubai and across Europe, Gran Turismo gets a film rating of 7 out of 10. Worth seeing.

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