Gran Turismo Movie Review

Going from Console to Cinema on a High-Octane Ride!

Mason Moeller

9/13/20232 min read

The racing film genre has had its share of classics, from the intense rivalries in "Rush" to the gritty world of street racing in the "Fast and the Furious" franchise. Entering the fray is "Gran Turismo", a film adaptation of a popular video game, directed by Neil Blomkamp. But does it race to the top, or stall before the finish line?

A unique selling point of "Gran Turismo" is its origin story. Marketed as a true tale, it is based on a contest from the Gran Turismo video game that provided a player an opportunity to transition from virtual races to actual asphalt tracks. The biographical touch, interspersed within the realm of video game adaptation, poses an interesting juxtaposition between reality and the virtual. The film chronicles the journey of Jann Mardenborough, an adept gamer with no real racing experience, thrust into the demanding world of professional motorsport.

Leading the ensemble cast are David Harbor, Archie Madekwe, Orlando Bloom, and Djimon Hounsou. Harbor and Madekwe, particularly, deliver stellar performances. Their chemistry shines, representing a bond between characters that is palpable and sincere. However, the father-son dynamic between Hounsou and the protagonist, although poignant, could've been explored deeper. On the other hand, Madekwe's portrayal adds a layer of authenticity to the narrative, challenging the often derogatory stereotypes associated with gamers.

Blomkamp's directorial prowess in "Gran Turismo" is further accentuated when viewed in D-Box. This immersive experience was nothing short of transformative. The D-Box motion seats, synchronized to the film's high-octane sequences, made it feel less like a movie-watching experience and more like being in a high-performance car or a sophisticated racing simulator. Every turn, skid, and acceleration was felt, transporting viewers right into the heart of the race.

Equally impressive were the numerous nods to the original video game. For fans familiar with the Gran Turismo series, the movie served as a nostalgic ride. From iconic in-game sounds to recognizable UI elements flashing across the screen, these references were seamlessly integrated. It was evident that the creators had taken meticulous care to ensure authenticity and honor the legacy of the game. These elements, combined with the D-Box experience, bridged the gap between the virtual racing world and cinematic storytelling, crafting a truly immersive spectacle for fans and newcomers alike.

In conclusion, "Gran Turismo" might not reinvent the wheel when it comes to storytelling. It borrows heavily from classic underdog tropes and could've benefited from a lengthier runtime to flesh out certain dynamics. However, the film is undeniably fun, energetic, and at moments, even inspiring when knowing the context that this is based on a true story. It serves as both an ode to the beloved video game and an exhilarating foray into the world of professional racing. Recommended especially for game enthusiasts and lovers of sports films, "Gran Turismo" is a ride worth taking, even with a few bumps along the way.