Movie Feature

6 great racing movies

By Wang DexianMovies - 17 September 2012 9:48 AM | Updated 09 September 2014

6 great racing movies

Every September, it seems that the entirety of Singapore drops whatever they're doing and all eyes stop to look towards the bright lights, otherwise known as the Singapore Grand Prix. In that tradition, we here at inSing Movies present you with 6 great racing movies to get you into the mood for the Grand Prix and its noisy festivities...

 

'Rush' (2013)

One of the best films of 2013, 'Rush’, the latest effort from director Ron Howard, was infamously not picked up by Universal Studios, and he had to dig back into his trenches to develop this film independently. Now, it all seems to have paid off. This isn't just a mightily magnificent sports film, it is also one of Howard's finest and most exciting in sometime, after flops such as ‘The Dilemma’ (2011) and ‘Angels & Demons’ (2009). This “period” piece takes us back to the 1970s, when Formula One racing wasn't even remotely safe. As the opening narration from Daniel Bruhl would darkly state, almost two men would die from the sport every year back then. The movie centres on the true story of two drivers: Englishman James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Austrian Niki Lauda (Bruhl), the birth of their rivalry, and the culmination of it during the wild 1976 Formula One season. Director Howard's strength has always been his populist style of filmmaking, appealing to both casual and serious filmgoers. Here, he combines the accessibility of the film's core with some slick production values to craft a beast that looks and sound terrific.

 

 

‘Senna’ (2010)

A documentary depicting the life of Brazilian motor-racing champion Ayrton Senna. The critically film covers all the important parts of his career. It follows the legendary driver through his arrival to the Formula One scene in 1984, and along his decade long ascend to fame.

The film trails his time with the McLaren F1 team, winning various world championships and most notably, documenting his intense rivalry with teammate and fellow driving great Alain Prost before his untimely death at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

Various home videos provided by Senna's family and interviews also provide a peek at the many sides of Senna; the sublime and spiritual driver, the ruthless competitor and the private, humble man who contemplated a life after motor racing. 

 

‘The Fast and The Furious Series’ (2001-2011)

A scene from 'Fast Five'

An obvious pick as there's five movies (with a sixth one being filmed as I type) in this series.

While the Fast and The Furious series hasn't been particularly awe-inspiring nor original (seriously, the first movie is ‘Point Break’ with Paul Walker as Keanu and Vin Diesel as Swayze, with cars instead of surfboards) as a whole, the series has evolved from being just movies about tuned-up cars and illegal street races.

The unoriginally titled fourth instalment, ‘Fast & Furious’ hints at the hijacking the Dominic and his crew partake in, which is ratcheted up a notch in the action-packed ‘Fast Five’. The transitional film in the series, ‘Fast Five’ features a lot less racing in favour of more brawls, shoot outs and action set pieces like the heist in the film.

And of course, a whole lot of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Whether it's racing or the bro-mance between Vin, Paul or Dwayne, there's a whole lot of everything for any hot blooded male (or female).

 

‘Speed Racer’ (2008)

A controversial and divisive film that drags up heated debates whenever it is mentioned (many critics panned the movie, clearly disappointed by the Wachowski Brothers popcorn film while fanboys loved it), the adaptation of the beloved 60s Japanese anime nevertheless has one thing that merits its inclusion on this list – cars, lots of cars.

Though it might be a little childish and too saccharine for some, the visuals of ‘Speed Racer’ are stunning and possesses an unique yet futuristic retro look. Ignore the flak and give ‘Speed Racer’ a go and make up your own mind. Unless of course, you start throwing up within 10 minutes of the movie, then you should probably stop.

 

‘Days of Thunder’ (1990)

Helmed by the late Tony Scott (R.I.P), “Days of Thunder” is often referred to as “Top Gun on wheels”.

And it’s not an entirely bad description because it really is the same film as ‘Top Gun’, except this time Tom Cruise plays a NASCAR driver. If you're not convinced, type “Tom Cruise Picture” in your Google search bar.

So, basically... Cruise plays Cole Trickle, a hot headed talented young driver thrown into the pits of NASCAR racing. Trickle faces lots of adversity at the start as he's not particularly familiar with the NASCAR lingo or its practices. But with lots of mentorship and some curbing of his rashness, he manages to win the race and give the audience a happy ending.

This film is also notable for being the movie that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman first met on. I guess it could also known as the movie that would ruin Nicole's life. Just kidding, we love you, Tom!

 

‘Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby’ (2006)

This film is best remembered for quite a few things… The kiss that Sacha Baron Cohen plants on Will Ferrell near the end, and more notably “Shake and bake!” For those who haven’t watched this classic, it’s the catch phrase Ferrell and John C. Reily sprout throughout the movie while doing fist bumps and other acts of brotherly love. Oddly enough, John C. Reily was also in ‘Days of Thunder’ as Buck Bretherton, Cole's (Cruise) car chief – weird.  

Will Ferrell is in his element here, playing a self-made millionaire NASCAR racer driven on by his estranged dad Reese's advice; “If you ain't first, you're last”. Sacha Baron Cohen plays his rival, a supremely talented gay French driver seeking the ultimate challenge – he wants to retire and settle down with his husband but only if he is defeated in a race by a worthy rival.

An utterly hilarious movie, ‘Talladega Nights’ is full of laugh out loud gags and fun, brash stupidity; definitely one of Ferrell's best.