Actually, no, this has nothing to do with video games, cause this is "based on a true story." A really good story about two rival Formula 1 drivers, James Hunt (England) and Niki Lauda (Austria). And thank you Ron Howard for being an actual petrolhead and not f***ing up this movie like Hollywood usually does (the movie cynic in me enjoys poking holes in things, like this). 88% on Rotten Tomatoes isn't bad!
As you can tell, this was in the 70's when safety was of little concern and musicians actually made decent music. No seriously, they actually play Gimme Some Lovin' in the first racing scene which proves Ron saw Days of Thunder, or something, so tack on an extra star to the final score! Rubbin' is racing!!! Boogity boogity!!!
Here you have the two protagonists, Lauda and Hunt, who are Formula 3 rivals that moved up to Formula 1, and they totally contrast in personality. James Hunt is a raw talent, a brash driver who loves to party. He defied F1 driver tradition that a driver must behave and be treated like royalty. Hunt loved the lady parts, as you can see right away within the first 30 seconds of the movie, Hunt is banging the nurse. So thank you James for turning this movie into a porno.
On the other hand, Niki Lauda is the MAN. More reserved, cool, calm, and calculated, he could tune cars like no one's business. He has a cool-ass name and actually stayed faithful to his wife (at least for a little while). Niki is what's great about racing.
So quick rundown of the movie. Hunt and Lauda are in Formula 3, Hunt wins the championship and later gets a Formula 1 ride with Hesketh, some crappy race team that thought driving a bleached white car with no sponsors is a good idea. On the other hand, Lauda "cheated," denounced his father's boring-ass businessman lifestyle, took out a big loan, and swooned the Ferrari people by building a superior car that outdid the previous ones by several seconds. Lauda would then later race a coupe through rural Italy to impress two fanboys and his future wife, proving that he's a baller. At this point, the HEAT WAS ON between the two gentlemen...
Both drivers took turns having strokes of life-changing bad luck. Hunt was first. Hesketh ran out of money and fired Hunt, leaving him to sit at home and watch his wife cheat on his scummy ass. Hunt would later bang the flight attendant in the restroom to showcase his libido. Lauda would go on to win his first championship, something that is skimmed over in the film. The 1976 season is when Hunt gets a ride at McLaren and the two begin their duel.
Season begins in Brazil with some damn hot Carnival babes and quick 10-15 previews of each race of the season. Lauda would take a commanding lead in the points as Hunt's car would frequently explode. Hunt goes into Hulk mode and strikes back, winning a few races of his own, making them 1st-2nd in the points.
Later it's the German GP at Nurburgring. Yes, THE Nurburgring Nordschleife with 154 turns. And to make things worse, it's raining. One racer was already hospitalized during practice. Lauda then holds a driver's meeting and tries to call the race off as too dangerous, Hunt basically calls him a pussy, and the drivers race anyway. Both Hunt and Lauda opt for wet tires at the start only for the track to dry up quickly and both to go to the pits for dry tires after the first lap.
And here's where Lauda's bad luck strikes. Obviously way behind from the leader, he pushes the car so hard the suspension breaks on one turn as he goes careening into the wall in a blazing inferno as some other guy wrecks into Lauda's flaming casket. Lauda suffers paralyzing burns and smoke inhalation while Hunt laughs his ass off as he wins races while Lauda is on the hospital bed.
This wreck seems oddly symbolic to my recent woes that I teared up in the theater. One morning in May 2013, while racing to work on the wet pavement, I push the car harder than I should in an attempt to make up ground. Eventually the wet pavement gets the best of me as I slide into a dumpster, smashing it up in the process. Three days later, I would be fired from my job and sit unemployed for five months as distraught me has to watch my friend and rivals move up the career ladder without me. My story isn't as bad as Lauda's but the similarities are there! Fuck wet blacktop parking lots, put up a friggin sign or something.
Eventually, Lauda would go through accelerated therapy, have the junk sucked out of his lungs and the bandaids peeled from his head. A month passed and Hunt nearly caught up to him in the points. Lauda gets back out there (a burnt up disfigured mess, no doubt) and after giving the best "fuck you" I've ever heard to an asshole reporter, puts up a solid 4th place at Monza with fans running at his car after the race while Hunt DNF's again. Which meant one thing...
Final race of the season! It's at Fuji Speedway--PREPARE TO QUALIFY!!! Oh, and it's raining. F1 cars can drive in the rain but in the storm that you see here? Well...yes they could back in the 70's, when they had big balls and the rides were high enough to make wet racing possible. After one lap of driving through dense fog, Lauda does the most admirable thing a driver can do--goes to the pits and retires from the race. It's too dangerous, he said, it's not worth risking your lives over a stupid trophy! Tell that to Hunt who needs to finish 3rd or better to beat Lauda for the grand prize. It was a nailbiter for Lauda as all he could do is watch and pray Hunt doesn't win...
SHOCKER--Hunt finishes 3rd, wins the championship, and Lauda has no regrets. It wasn't racing, Lauda said, it was stupid of Hunt to risk his life like that. After a bunch of TV appearances and booze, drug, and women sessions later, Hunt meets Lauda again, Lauda having taken up the hobby of flying planes. They tip their hats to each other and the movie ends. Lauda would go on to win two more championships and live to see the premiere of this movie (which he admired, BTW) while Hunt would go on to be a race announcer and die of a heart attack in 1993. While Hunt turned out to be a washed-up loser who won his only championship cause his main competition was hospitalized by a near-death experience, Lauda later admitted Hunt was the only driver he was ever jealous of. Which means a lot from the man, myth, and legend that is NIKI LAUDA.
Great movie, would see again. Very accurate and gives you a sense of what vintage Formula 1 racing was really like Only disappointment is that there's too much talking in the first half of the movie (come on, I wanna see some racing), plus there's no final race between Lauda and Hunt to settle the score once and for all. But a final race would be unrealistic. Also at no point do they play a Rush song in the movie though that would be cheesy as hell. So I'll give you some Rush right here.
Oh well, I give this FIVE out of FOUR stars (remember the additional one cause of Gimme Some Lovin'). Just go watch the movie, seriously, right away, race in an F1 car to the theater or Redbox now.