The most interesting thing about Rush is that it avoids doing what you would expect every other film to do with its lead characters – it doesn’t take sides. Rush is the story of the rivalry between James Hunt, the prototypical Formula 1 playboy, and Niki Lauda who, while Austrian, could be considered the template for the stereotype of the hardworking German in search of precision and perfection. These two faced off over the course of the 1976 F1 World Championship, a season notable for a number of fatalities and horrific injuries.

The typical way to tell this story would be for Lauda to be presented as the bad guy. He was the incumbent world champion, he was cold, blunt, brusque. Hunt, on the other hand, was naturally skilled but didn’t care for preparation, relying on his wits. He was handsome, charming, a crowd-pleaser. I guess what prevented that narrative was the accident that happened partway through the season in which Lauda was almost killed, receiving terrible burns across his face, leaving him disfigured. Casting him as the bad guy would be harsh to say the least.

Instead, the film challenges the audience to make up their own minds, which is refreshing from a mainstream venture. It’s an interesting challenge. I have always sided with the guys with the natural talent, and the guys who show their emotions – people like Seve Ballesteros – over those who practice, practice, practice and keep their emotions inside – Tiger Woods for example – but Rush seeks to open up that more mechanical persona and turn it into something more human.

Overall, the film is enjoyable, solid mainstream fair, drawing engaging characters and relationships (though reputedly playing fast and loose with Hunt and Lauda’s off-track friendship), and I only really found it lacking in the driving sequences, which isn’t as big a miss as it sounds. The heart and soul of the film is in the characters, and so the fact that the on-track scenes don’t have you on the edge of your seat isn’t crippling but it’s certainly a disappointment.


Film length: 2hrs 3 mins – Feels like: 1hr 45mins

Fast & Furious 6

If, based on this picture, this looks like the kind of film you would enjoy, then you will enjoy this film. If not, don't bother.

If, based on this picture, this looks like the kind of film you would enjoy, then you will enjoy this film. If not, don’t bother.

Let’s keep this short, shall we. This is a Fast & Furious movie. The 6th one, in case you couldn’t tell. And you know what that means – cars, racing, speed, explosions, Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, scripts and acting of dubious quality.

However, for the most part it has also always meant entertainment, with the high point being the 5th installment, mainly set in Brazil. Does this one live up to that high benchmark? Not quite, but it’s still a good fun 2 hours.

What’s the story, I hear you ask? Why? I reply, does it matter? OK, then. Some car-based crew have stolen some kind of military hardware – they don’t really bother going into this because, does it matter? – and The Rock thinks only Vin Diesel et al can catch the guys who did it. He has some leverage. He has photos of Michelle Rodriguez, who was Diesel squeeze earlier in the serious but apparently died in one of them. Except it appears she didn’t because he she is.

So Diesel and his crew get back together to try to stop this British crew from taking whatever it is they want. First they hit the Interpol HQ in London (is there one? Really?), then there’s a big tank based bit in Spain and then some stuff at an air force base.

Look, I’m being half-hearted about this because, for the most part, it doesn’t matter. It’s all an excuse to get from one bit of speed-porn to the next. So how is the speed-porn?

The speed-porn is pretty good. It’s not up there with 5, but it’s still good fun. And totally ridiculous, of course. If anyone can get a couple of US muscle cars to be genuinely that maneuverable around the crowded streets of London I’ll be seriously impressed.

Anything else worth mentioning?

– It’s still clear why Paul Walker isn’t fronting any other movies. Exposure to cameras and movie sets is yet to see him pick up any acting skills.
– Gina Carano (from Haywire) is added to the mix this time, and pretty damn good she is too.
– The film features the world’s longest runway, stretching from the Pyrenees to Gibraltar.
– While the writing is nothing special, it knows the formula. It makes sure that each character hits their character beats. It allows there to be an element of emotional undercurrent to the action sequences. It keeps things moving (as is entirely appropriate).
– It’s still a little too long, with a sequence back in California sticking out as wholly unnecessary.

Overall, it knows what it is and has fun with it. Good solid entertainment.

Oh, and there’s a little bit at the end to tease you for episode 7. And tease me it did – it’s an element which makes me think it could be the best yet.


Warning: The trailer below features a lot of spoilers. In fact, basically all of them.