Take a star – here it’s top gun Tom Cruise – and mix in fast planes, bikes, cars or anything which makes a deafening noise, add a sexy woman, a few fights, a few laughs, a rock soundtrack, and presto, you’ve got a critic-proof blockbuster.
It was Cruise, a racing enthusiast, who had the idea to make a film about a racing driver. Screenwriter Robert Towne (Chinatown, Shampoo, The Last Detail) was then hired to flesh out the story about a cocky driver, Cole Trickle (Cruise), who thinks that if he can control speed, he can control his life.
The script is loaded with stock cars and stock characters – but Towne certainly does deliver what’s necessary: a workable setup for exciting NASCAR racing footage shot on 16 Winston Cup tracks from Daytona to Watkins Glen.
Robert Duvall as Trickle’s crusty crew chief, Harry, Randy Quaid as a promoter and Michael Rooker as rival driver Rowdy Burns – who becomes Trickle’s friend – pump conviction into the tiredest macho-buddy scenes.
Trickle also has a predictable romance with a doctor, played by Australian actress Nicole Kidman, who would become his real-life wife in December 1990.
Dr Claire Lewicki
John C. Reilly