Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"Fast & Furious" fact or fiction. Universal is looking for two fast hits.

However you like to watch cars moving very fast across your cineplex screen, Universal is betting it's got you covered.

The choice gets down to fact or fiction. Do you like speed attached to over the top car stunts and explosive action, never mind the mindless plot and barrage of violence, or would you rather opt for a "based on a true story" Formula 1 trip back into racing history?

Universal is hoping you're on board for both, so to put you in the mood, here are both trailers along with some other ideas for getting a racing rush on home video.

The Fiction.
The action starts, or more accurately, continues on May 24th with Fast & Furious 6, yes 6. Not that one hasn't been much like the others, this franchise of gasoline fueled action has become a staple of what car movies have become in the last decade.

Reassembling bits and pieces of past casts and crews dating all the way to the franchise's debut with The Fast and Furious in 2001, the new movie feels like it was pieced together from parts found in a junkyard. Except the junkyard has been supplying only hits and box-office profits. Cast leads returning from the past include Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Dwayne Johnson and Michelle Rodriguez.

Though the poster's tagline is "All Roads Lead to This", don't get the idea this is all going to end with an even half-dozen. Fast & Furious 7 has already rolled out to a production greenlight at Universal. (7's new villain makes his presence felt in this chapter in the person of Jason Statham.) And if you really just can't get enough, you can add Roger Corman's 1955 original The Fast and the Furious to your Netflix queue this weekend.

The Fact.
In the real world there are also men who drive cars to the limits of their abilities, and that action can account for explosive results as well. Though the consequences of real life tragedies don't often include a second shot at glory. In Formula 1 racing, a fiery wreck for driver Niki Lauda during a 1976 race led to exactly that, and miraculously, only weeks after the wreck nearly claimed his life.

That 1976 racing season and the famous rivalry between Lauda and fellow driver James Hunt is where the green flag waves for the start of Director Ron Howard's Rush.

The making of Rush signals some much needed, big-screen exposure for auto racing in all of its forms and watching clips of the period era film remind me of some of the greatest racing movies ever made.

If you're interested in seeing Rush when it's released (in the U.S. on September 20th), you may want to revisit two classics, 1966's Grand Prix, directed by John Frankenheimer, with an impressive cast that included James Garner, Eva Marie Saint and Yves Montand, or 1971's Le Mans directed by Lee H. Katzin starring Steve McQueen. Though Grand Prix is set against some soap-opera like personal dramas, both films offer some of the most gritty and realistic driving sequences shot on film at the time of their productions.

And if you're interested in getting a period glimpse of the real life dangers of Formula 1 (this one from the 80's), don't miss watching the excellent documentary Senna, a biography of Ayrton Senna, the Brazilian three-time F1 world champion who died while racing at only 34 years of age. Senna is also from Universal. (Both Senna and Grand Prix are available as rentals on iTunes.)

Thanks to Universal Pictures for promotional materials and trailers. Moviedozer does not endorse or mean to imply an endorsement of the services provided by iTunes or Netflix.

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