on 28 December 2006
I love this film, but I feel its been let down by the picture transfer.
The DVD says Widescreen 2.35:1, so I just assumed that meant anamorphic transfer for unsquishing onto a widescreeen TV...
...not so. It's 2.35:1 letterbox inside 4:3. So if you want to fill the screen on a 16:9 TV, you have to Zoom in - which inevitably lowers the picture resolution.
Great film, great soundtrack, but Paramount DVD or whoever manufactured it need to get their act in gear about the picture transfer.
on 2 August 2000
Although not as good, Days of Thunder can be seen as Top Gun on wheels. Tom Cruise is his normal self, but a special mention must go to both Robert Duvall as the pit crew chief, and especially Randy Quaid who I thought was fantastic in the role of team owner. For sure, to get maximum enjoyment out of this film you have to be a fan of motorsports, on a good surround sound system, anyone will enjoy the race sequences. In summary Days of Thunder definetly benefits from the transformation to DVD, the sound is excellent and the picture quality very good. An essential purchase for either fans of Tom or NASCAR.
on 16 March 2010
The film, whilst basically Top Gun for racing cars, is good, escapist fun. Even after several intervening years, the action still looks good and the story competent enough to hold your attention. There is nothing deep in the film - rookie driver, Tom Cruise, is brilliant but unpolished and needs the guidance of pit team boss Robert Duval to mould him into a race winner (with the inevitable on-off buddy relationship along the way). Then comes disaster with a serious crash (and the intervention of beautiful doctor and love-interest Nicole Kidman) before Cruise has a shot at the title. But will he be able to drive again after the trauma of the crash - erm...what do you think?. Along the way, there is a tough-guy rival who Cruise bonds with whilst having a road race; one of the best sequences in the film. You half expect Cruise to request a fly-by at the end of the film or, at least, shoot down a few Migs. Yes, it's a pretty mindless film but you knew that, right? As for the transfer to blu-ray, it was good but not overwhelming. Too much grain on clear blue skies. Same with the sound; it never really grabs you by the throat, even with all the cars screaming round the track. That said, it's an old film and the quality on blu-ray was far superior to my old DVD. Overall, if you want two hours of escapist fun - this is it; Cruise at his boyish best.
Shamelessly intended as Top Gun with cars - so much so that the working title was Top Car - and crippled by a production schedule that saw the film going into production without a finished script and released to such a tight deadline the editing was never properly finished, Days of Thunder is a lot more enjoyable than its reputation implies. Not that it's without its problems, but as summer blockbusters go it delivers what it promises even if it's strictly formulaic stuff. It has the usual Bruckheimer/Simpson overkill, with Cruise making his entry on a motorbike through a filtered haze to the sound of a drum machine in the most laughable clichéd moment of an otherwise good Hans Zimmer score and being shot throughout far more lovingly than his leading lady Nicole Kidman, cast as the kind of brain surgeon who gets involved with her patient that you only find in movies ("God, I hate you for this you son of a bitch, you make me sound like a doctor"). But then, with a hero called Cole Trickle, the kind of name you only find in movies and which sounds like a drunk with a full bladder who couldn't find the outhouse, you're not going to mistake this for a documentary on NASCAR racing even if it does a decent job of filling in some of the background for the benefit of the non-petrolheads in the audience.
At its best it's a throwback to the Howard Hawks school of manly filmmaking - there's even a brief, possibly unintentional nod to The Crowd Roars when our hero races through the smoke of a crashed car - although none of its driven characters are quite as ruthless or fast talking as Hawks would have made them. The racing scenes are pretty well handled, always allowing you to tell what's going on rather than just throwing cool shots that don't relate to each other together with reckless abandon, and the offtrack drama is decent enough for most of the film, with the emphasis on whether our hero will beat himself and learn to work with the car rather than against it more important than who wins most of the races. The biggest problem is the sudden last-minute switch in rivals from Michael Rooker, whose frenemy has the kind of drive and intensity that makes him the one to beat (they even race wheelchairs in hospital after a crash), to Cary Elwes' spoiled rotten rival teammate, who is such a paper thin stereotype that if he drove in the rain the ink would run. As a result the final race where he finally learns to put theory into practice and use the Force doesn't have quite the edge or investment it should, but it's still easily the best NASCAR movie, though it has to be admitted that Stroker Ace doesn't exactly give it much competition.
The film didn't live up to box-office expectations back in 1990, and its suffered the consequences on home video ever since. The DVD release is less than great - the 2.35:1 widescreen transfer is acceptable but could be a lot better, and the only extra is the film's full trailer. The Blu-ray only offers a very minor improvement in picture quality, and no more in the way of extras.
Starring Tom Cruise, directed by Tony Scott and brought to us by Bruckheimer and Simpson, that's a roll call of reasons why many would hate this before even watching it!
Days of Thunder is pretty indicative of the films being made by this lot around this time. Sure there's a honest intention somewhere within to build potent character dynamics, to raise moral awareness and etc, but they always came down to relying on speedy thrills, simmering sexual tensions and a punch the air finale. These latter things are evident in Days of Thunder, making it very much enjoyable if judging on those terms.
The actual dynamic of the stock car racing set-up as portrayed here is a bit suspect, but the thrills come in leaps and bounds as the cars career around the tracks and slam into each other while the respective drivers' egos explode in a flaming ball of testosterone. There's Cruise with his arrogant grin, there's Michael Rooker scowling and there's Carey Elwes doing his worst Val Kilmer Iceman impression. While out in the pits Robert Duvall adds the bit of class by juggling a dual role of surrogate father and expert stock-car manager, and Kidman as ace doctor Claire Lewicki shuffles around wondering just what is the point of all this emotionally damaged machismo.
The makers don't cut any corners in their willingness to raise your pulse, and they succeed in that comfort food sort of way. But that's if you are so inclined of course? 6.5/10
on 5 July 2005
Replace the jet fighters of Top Gun with NASCAR racing vehicles and hey presto you have a brand new film! When I found out that not only did Tom Cruise star in both films, but they were both directed by Tony Scott, well that really put the icing on the cake!
Seriously though, Days of Thunder is not that bad a film if you're after a few thrilling action sequences, a throwaway storyline and lots of shots of the gorgeous face of Tom Cruise. If you're after anything more then you might just go away slightly disappointed.
As I say the plot doesn't really merit a mention. Rookie Cruise arrives on the scene with lots of talent but no control. Paired up with fatherly Robert Duvall as the car team's chief they argue and fight and eventually come to love and respect each other. Cruise suffers a bad crash and is tended by Nicole Kidman, cue gratuitous love scenes. Cruise recovers to win the final race of the season seeing off his most hated rival and claiming victory. Finish your pop corn and go home.
There are some redeeming features to the film though. Even the most ardent hater of motor sports will find the race scenes somewhat thrilling and very well filmed. Robert Duvall is always good value for money and he makes another well rounded appearance here, and well, you just can't keep Tom Cruise down. The smile, the teeth, the hair, you just gotta like this guy!
on 2 December 2015
First time around for me with this one. Having seen pretty much the rest of Jerry Bruckheimer's back catalogue, this was one of films that's never really been a priority, and I happened to catch on tv.
The premise - Tom Cruise's rookie NASCAR driver really wants to win the Daytona 500. And that's virtually it...
On it's release, it was often quoted as "Top Gun on wheels". I'd agree with that, so far as both have Tony Scott's hyperkinetic direction style, both are shallow as a puddle, both have more cheese than a Wotsit factory, terrible scripts, and both feature amongst the worst performances of Tom Cruise's career.
The romance with Cruise, and his then partner Nicole Kidman is a subtle as a sledgehammer, and never remotely believable. Robert Duvall just shows up, and delivers a performance like he's sleepwalking (Which he near duplicated in 'Gone In Sixty Seconds'), and only Michael Rooker seems to be having any fun.
It was vaguely amusing to see Bruckheimer's old producer partner, Don Simpson, crowbar himself in for a cameo I suppose...
In case you wondering, I wasn't a fan.
For the record, I think there are some of Jerry Bruckheimer's films that have been decent such as Crimson Tide, The Rock and Enemy of State. And Tom Cruise is more than capable of delivering a solid film, but just not on this occasion.
on 1 December 2010
As many have said, this film is simply Top Gun on the track. There's some good footage of real-life NASCAR races and characters and Robert Duvall makes a good job of his role as the old and wise Crew Chief tasked with taming Tom Cruise's wilder moments.
The plot is laughable to be honest. How can someone like the Cole Trickle character win championships without understanding even the basics of car setup and oval racing? I know that here in the UK we all think that NASCAR is basically a case of keeping your boot down and turning left, and to an extent that's true, but there is a lot of skill required in setting up the cars. I personally think that Robert Duvall's character is there mainly to explain to the uninitiated viewer the basics of NASCAR in an entertaining fashion.
My favourite comedy moment is the final duel between Cruise and the "Bad Guy" on the track. It's neck-and-neck stuff until... Tom Cruise magically remembers that he has another gear to go! He upshifts and blasts over the line to victory! Woo! Yay! etc.
But who cares? It's a fun film, with lots of spectacle and is very much a product of its time. I liked it. If you've got a rainy afternoon to spare and a decent surround sound system there are far worse ways of wasting an hour or two.
on 6 June 2015
The film I cannot rate, but the Blue ray does not play in UK Blu Ray players. Given this is supposed to be the region free version I would recommend caution. Or the DVD. Movie is classic fun! Top Gun with Gears. But not Top Gear, that is something else..
on 30 August 2010
This John Frankenheimer film followed on from Top Gun and to some extent follows the same formula; arrogant hothead whose arrogance gets him into trouble with the authorities and whose mental fragility shows through after an accident that wasn't his fault. Falls in love with the woman that is helping him out of it (in this case his doctor - played by Nicole Kidman) and then comes good in the end.
Days of Thunder is basically Top Gun on four wheels. It's good for petrolheads and fans of NASCAR although the racing is a bit too 'Hollywood' and not quite as realistic as the fans would have liked, but it's still a good yarn. It's also the film that brought Cruise and Kidman together leading to their marriage.