Days of Thunder/C,D-

Paramount/1990/107m/WS 2.35

     Is there even a lap of originality in Days of Thunder? I could find any except maybe naming the main character Cole Trickle. What was the thinking here? There is just something hilarious about trickling around the track at breakneck speeds. Is the concept an oxymoron?
    So, what's it all about besides cars racing around a track at furious speeds to the accompaniment of throaty engines? The dream of every used car lot owner is race is take some of the bombs that show up on the lot and turn them into mega horsepower stock car champs. Tim Daland tries to realize his dream with the help of legendary car builder and crew chief  Harry Hogge. Enter Trickle,  a young driver who needs to prove himself. 

Working out the Trickle kinks. ©Paramount

     There are some great laps, a heap of crashes, lots of juvenile behavior, a doctor to the rescue, and male bonding. The big question at the checkered flag is how many revolutions around the track do you want to spend with these characters.
    Tony Scott revs up the images with slick photography and hairpin editing, but the script leaves little room to open up his engines. Tom Cruise is attractive as Trickle, Nicole Kidman has some screen sizzle as Dr. Claire Lewicki and Robert Duvall must have gotten a fat pay check as Hogge. Rand Quaid, Michael Rooker and Cary Elwes fill the track with supporting actors.
     This is pretty close to the bottom of the DVD barrel. The over-enhancement is simply an embarrassment and makes Days of Thunder even harder to watch than the dull material would suggest. Edge jitter runs rampant, turning whatever excitement the track scenes might generate into a blur. The enhancement is so distorting its even difficult to read the multitude of logos on the race driver uniforms. You do get the thunder, however. The racetrack ambiance is blasted about with little subtlety on the Dolby Digital 5:1 mix, but then, I guess nothing about Days of Thunder is subtle.



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