Rush out to get this
Rush Blu-ray Review
Ron Howard’s blisteringly engaging race-rivalry movie manages to capture the heart and soul of two fearless foes as they blast their way through a defining decade of Formula 1.Attempting to focus on the characters as much as the racing, this compelling biopic sees Chris Hemsworth’s expectedly charming Brit playboy James Hunt go toe-to-toe with Daniel Bruhl’s precision-engineered eccentric, Niki Lauda, tearing down race-tracks across the globe as they vie for pole position.
Indeed, so interesting are both characters – and so very different – that you will find it hard pushed to side with one or the other. Do you favour the charismatic ladies’ man, whose brash, gutsy moves on the track often threaten the safety of his fellow racers, or do you go for the more weasel-like Lauda, who sports a superior intellect and vehicle knowledge, but drives using science more than pure passion?Over the course of the two hours Howard sees them face-off both on and off the track and paints equally blunt portraits of both – warts and all – as Hunt struggles with a disastrous love-life, difficulties securing sponsorship, and problematic vehicle troubles, whilst Lauda negotiates his way into pole position only to find himself ultimately less favoured by fate.
You’ll find yourself, at one point or another, rooting for both figures – perhaps even equally – which is a testament to the superb performances of the two lead players (Bruhl’s commitment arguably more impressive than Hemsworth’s, but only because the latter doesn’t seem to have to travel very far from his trademark Norse God portrayal to get into the shoes of James Hunt) as well as the strength of the script and the direction.
With powerful performances, a compelling true-life story, and a succession of blisteringly fast and staggeringly exciting race sequences, Rush is well worth your time.
Rush Blu-ray Picture QualityDespite its intentional and veritably authentic period stylisation – a desaturated palette leads the way – Rush looks absolutely stunning in its 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation, framed in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.4:1 widescreen. Detail impresses throughout, wonderfully observing facial close-ups with strong skin textures, clothing weaves and background touches; skin pores and hair strands discernible in near every instance. Notwithstanding some of the more edgy race cinematography, the image is largely devoid of digital issues – no edge enhancement is noticeable; DNR application is negligible and banding and blocking are practically non-existent, but for in a couple of darker sequences where any issues go all but unnoticed.
Desaturation has been wielded with sublime precision, at once ageing this back to the suitable period setting, and also rendering it as impressive as any modern-day production.
The colour scheme has clearly been tweaked in favour of browns and greens, taking a more dour, reserved approach for the post part, and rendering cloud skylines and whites with a light twinge of blue-green; that aforementioned desaturation brought to bear but wielded with sublime precision, at once ageing the piece back to a period when all this took place, but, at the same time, making it stand out as just as impressive and magnificent as any modern day production of this mid-range budget. All in all this is demo territory from start to finish.
Rush Blu-ray Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is just as impressive, particularly – as you would only expect – during the numerous racing sequences. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently, dominating the frontal array wherever appropriate, even amidst all the sound and fury of the races. The score, by Zimmer, unfortunately feels like one of his lesser efforts, a bit of a hack job borrowing a little from his own earlier and similarly-themed Days of Thunder, but more noticeably so from his Mission: Impossible II score. Thankfully, this is not such a bad thing for the movie, providing some welcome enhancement during the race sequences, helping build the tension and deliver satisfyingly exhilarating results, all the while disseminated across the surrounds, even bringing the LFE channel into play.
Rush looks and sounds just like you’d expect from a pulse-pounding racing movie, despite its relatively limited budget.
Effects are the high point, of course, focussing on all the race-related noises – from the roar of the engines to the screech of the tyres; from the cheer of the crowd to the thunder of the storm brewing above. The surrounds get a superb workout; the LFE channel gets yet more to do, and dynamics are exceptionally utilised, as cars whizz around your very own living room. Outstanding.
Rush Blu-ray ExtrasMarrying up to the US counterpart we get a trio of Extra features (notwithstanding a few throwaway Previews), which deliver a fair amount of substance. Race for the Chequered Flag: The Making of Rush is a six-part Documentary which totals about half an hour of behind the scenes and interview footage, split roughly equally into the subsections on the Writing, Casting, Race Cinematography, Sets, Costume Design and the Director.
The UK Region B-locked equivalent more than matches up to its US counterpart, and certainly bests it in terms of looks, particularly in its Limited Edition Steelbook format, prepped in a solid Ferrari Red case with just the embossed cream Rush logo striped across the length of it.
The Real Story of Rush is a nice little accompanying Featurette which offers up a further 20 minutes looking behind the Production, again split broadly across three areas: Meeting James Hunt and Niki Lauda, the F1 cars, and the Rock and Roll Circus. Finally, we get nine Deleted Scenes, amounting to a further 11 minutes of additional footage, none of which really needed to be reintegrated back into the main feature, although much of it is worth dipping into once, here.
Is Rush Blu-ray Worth BuyingWith powerful performances, a compelling true-life story, and a succession of blisteringly fast and staggeringly exciting race sequences, Rush is well worth your time.
On Region B-locked UK Blu-ray we get the same excellent video and audio that adorned the US equivalent, as well as the same selection of decent but perhaps not comprehensive extra features. Fans should consider this a must-have purchase – particularly in its lavish Limited Edition Steelbook form – and newcomers interested in the subject should consider it a must-have. Even those unfamiliar with racing should consider the skilful blend of character-study with exciting racing would make this at least worth a rental, if not a blind buy.
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