“Grand Turismo” was directed Neill Blomkamp and is both a sports biopic & based on the bestselling racing video game series of the same name. The film follows the story of VR racer turn professional motorsport racer, Jann Mardenborough, who is played by Archie Madekwe. The film also stars David Harbour, Orlando Bloom & Djimon Hounsou. Development on the film begun in 2013 but didn’t make real headway until May 2022 after new writers & Neill Blomkamp were attached to the film.
When marketing executive, Danny Moore (Bloom) pitches a new idea to Nismo, the motorsport division of Nissan, to create an Academy for VR racers of Gran Turismo and have compete for the opportunity to race a real car for Nissan at the upcoming race in Germany. Hesitant at first, Nismo agrees only if Danny can find a racing expert who can sign off on it and assure Nismo that taking gamer and putting them in an actual race car is not only doable but safe as well. After being turned down by every major expert in the sport, Danny’s last hope is Jack Salter (Harbour), a former racer who left racing after an incident at the famous “24 Hour at Le Mans” race in France 15 years earlier. Jack & Danny come to an agreement and set out to find the next racer for Nissan. In the U.K., a local VR racer by the Jann Mardenborough (Madekwe) is invited to participate in the contest at the academy. Jann is a teenager from Wales who was working at a clothing store & is the son of Steve Mardenborough (Hounsou), a famous footballer in the European Cup from the late 80s to the early 2000s. Despite his disapproval from his father, Jann enters the contest & thus our story begins.
The idea of blending a sports biopic & the settings of a video game was an intriguing idea. While the look & feel of the movie definitely mirrored the game, the look & feel of the tracks in Germany, Dubai & France. Where the movie becomes generic is the storyline of the biopic. While it is a solid story, it’s the same story we’ve seen a bunch of times from any other biopic. The performances were great, but the storyline was generic, formulaic & bland despite solid source material. Madekwe is the standout as the main character and really delivers with an outstanding supporting cast. Jann Mardenborough serves as stunt coordinator for Madekwe’s driving scenes. This film was had a controversial scene which involved Mardenborough’s crash at the Nürburgring Nordschlefie in which a spectator lost their life. While the event itself did have an impact on Mardenborough’s career, it actually happened 2 years after he made his debut at Le Man’s. In the movie this event was his first race as a professional.
This film marks the second feature film for Sony & PlayStation following 2022’s “Uncharted” while other properties were subjected to streaming service series such as “Last of Us” on HBO Max & “Twisted Metal” on Peacock. Other properties, including “Days Gone”, “Ghost of Tsushima” & “God of War” are currently in development, but don’t have any official word on a release date or castings. “Gran Turismo” hit theaters in August of 2023 & then hit Netflix in November later that year. It had special was premier on July 30, 2023, at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium following the 2023 Formula One Grand Prix.