It’s not often that I get to review the new releases but the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike has managed to prevent Gran Turismo being released in the USA for a couple of weeks. There were, apparently, some sneak previews across the pond but not the full release that was planned. It opened here last Friday so I got the opportunity to go along and see it before any of the usual RunPee suspects! It also meant that I had to do the Peetimes too, but such is life. So, what was Gran Turismo all about?
It tells the story of Jann Mardenborough (Archie Madekwe). Jann was a gamer who specialised in racing games…sorry, racing simulations. His favourite was the eponymous Gran Turismo. An executive at Nissan, Danny Moore (Orlando Bloom) sets up a competition to find the ten best gaming drivers in the world. Then they will be brought together at the GT Academy on the Silverstone race course. There they get bundled into the real versions of the cars they have been driving in their bedrooms and see how they get on.
If You Miss A Line In The Game, You Reset
To help knock the gamers into the shape of drivers there is a former racing driver brought in as trainer/team manager Jack Salter (David Harbour). The game itself was developed by Kazunori Yamauchi (Takehiro Hira). Nikhil Parmer is Persol, Jann’s friend and manager of the gaming cafe. Rounding out the cast are his family: his father Steve (Djimon Hounsou), mother Leslie (Geri Horner), and brother Coby (Daniel Puig).
Jann’s father is a former professional footballer. As is often the way of the world, Steve Mardenborough is hoping that his sons are going to follow in his footsteps. As it happens one son does, the other doesn’t. Jann has no interest in football but is devoted to playing Gran Turismo. When the competition comes along, and he qualifies, he has no doubt that he can transfer the skills acquired in his bedroom to the race track.
You Miss It On The Track, You Could Die
The thing with film versions of true stories is the question of how close the film is to the truth. By all accounts this one isn’t too far from reality. At the end there is one of those nice little montages showing stills from the film alongside the real life photos and they are pretty close! The real Jann Mardenborough actually performed as Archie Madekwe’s stunt double. The Danny Moore character is based on the GT Academy founder Darren Cox while Jack Salter is an amalgam of various people.
Still, Gran Turismo was an entertaining way to spend a shade over two hours. The racing scenes were well done with the video game graphics adding to the excitement rather than distracting from it. The bad guy, Nicholas Capa (Josha Stradowski) was suitably nasty! I did wonder how much technical input Geri Horner had to offer being the wife of Christian Horner; the real life Team Principal of the Red Bull Formula 1 team.
Movie Grade: A-
About The Peetimes: This film was quite episodic: prepare for race, race, analyze race, repeat. This made finding Peetimes relatively easy.
|(PG-13) Some Strong Language | Intense Action
|Action, Adventure, Drama
|Orlando Bloom, David Harbour, Darren Barnet
|Jason Hall, Zach Baylin
|United States, Japan
Based on the unbelievable, inspiring true story of a team of underdogs – a struggling, working-class gamer, a failed former race car driver, and an idealistic motorsport exec – who risk it all to take on the most elite sport in the world.
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Former teacher, lecturer, homelessness administrator, pharmacy dispenser now happily retired, happily married, and a very happy granddad. I live next to the Mersey but on the side Daniel Craig and Taron Egerton come from rather than the side the Beatles came from!