Days of Thunder is a 1990 sports drama film directed by Tony Scott (Top Gun, True Romance, The Last Boy Scout, Man on Fire, Beverly Hills Cop 2, & The Hunger). It was written by Robert Towne (Chinatown, The Two Jakes, Mission: Impossible 1/2, & The Firm). It was produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (Beverly Hills Cop franchise, Bad Boys franchise, Top Gun, The Rock, Gemini Man, & Con Air) & Don Simpson (Top Gun, The Ref, Beverly Hills Cop II, Crimson Tide, & Bad Boys). The script wasn’t even finished before they started filming. The budget was $55 million & it grossed $157.9 million worldwide at the box office!!!!
Cole Trickle (played by: Tom Cruise from the Mission Impossible franchise, Top Gun, Interview with the Vampire, Magnolia, War of the Worlds, & Collateral) is a young racer from California, with years of experience in open-wheel racing plus winning championships in the USAC. Originally setting his sights on the Indianapolis 500 but he’s willing to start with stock cars. He is recruited by Chevrolet dealership tycoon Tim Daland (played by: Randy Quaid from The Vacation franchise, Kingpin, The Ice Harvest, Freaked, & Independence Day) to race for his team in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. Daland brings former crew chief & car builder Harry Hogge (played by: Robert Duvall from The Godfather 1/2, Apocalypse Now, Gone in 60 Seconds, The Paper, & The Killer Elite) who left NASCAR after a tragic event years ago. In his first few races, Cole has difficulty adjusting to the larger NASCAR stock cars & communicating with his crew while being intimidated on the track by Winston Cup Champion Rowdy Burns (played by: Michael Rooker from The Walking Dead, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, Slither, Guardians of the Galaxy 1/2, & The Dark Half).
Harry puts Cole through rigorous training & it pays off when he wins his first race at Darlington. Cole develops a romantic relationship with Dr. Claire Lewicki (played by: Nicole Kidman from Batman Forever, The Goldfinch, Bombshell, Dogville, Aquaman, & The Killing of a Sacred Deer) after being injured. NASCAR President Big John (played by: Freddie Dalton Thompson from Law & Order, The Hunt for Red October, Die Hard 2, Cape Fear, & No Way Out) brings Rowdy & Cole together in a meeting to tell the two rivals to tone down their reckless battle. They end up bonding over it & become friends. Daland hires the hot-shot rookie Russ Wheeler (played by: Cary Elwes from The Princess Bride, Saw, Kiss the Girls, Black Christmas, & Bram Stoker’s Dracula) to fill Cole’s seat until Cole returns to active duty & then expands his team with the second car driven by Wheeler. Daland fired both Cole & Harry after becoming rivals with his other driver. Rowdy needs surgery so he asks Cole to drive his car at the Daytona 500 so his sponsors will pay for the year. Cole reluctantly agrees & convinces Harry to return as his crew chief. Can they both come back & defeat their old team????
Days of Thunder is basically Top Gun on a race car track & there’s nothing wrong with that! As a matter of fact, Days of the Thunder is 2nd greatest racing movie ever made & it does share more than a few similarities with the previously mentioned feature. Both lead actor Tom Cruise & director Tony Scott reunite with this sports drama. The script knows exactly what type of film it’s making but it actually adds more than just racing in this. It’s about redemption, proving yourself to overcome anything that’s thrown at you with hard work. I know lots of people do not like Tom Cruise but you can’t deny his talent. Personally, I’ve always been a huge fan & this is one his best movies to be honest. His performance is stop notch & his character really changes through out his journey here. Cruise has amazing chemistry with his co-stars Nicole Kidman, Robert Duvall, & Michael Rooker in this. Besides the actors already mentioned, Days of Thunder had an excellent supporting cast which includes Randy Quaid, Cary Elwes, Fred Dalton Thompson, & John C. Reilly (Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby). It had a nice mix of everything when it came to action, drama, & comedy. The racing sequences were intense & it kept you on your toes while watching them. The music for the production is classic & gets stuck in your head days after viewing it. It’s nice to see Days of Thunder get upgraded to 4K & be part of the new Paramount Presents line because it deserves more attention. The replay value is still strong here & I had a blast revisiting it for this review. It’s very fun & entertaining experience every time, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation & special features from Paramount Pictures! This 2160p (2.41:1) transfer with Dolby Vision & HDR10 is a major upgrade compared to the older blu ray release from 2008. Tony Scott’s classic style really pops out on the screen with it’s slick cinematography, creative camera work, & crafty edits. This is the best it’s ever looked & I’ve seen this movie so many times over the years in various formats. It’s loaded with all kinds of audio options which includes English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English: Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1, German: Dolby Digital 5.1, Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1, Japanese: Dolby Digital 2.0, & Portuguese: Dolby Digital 2.0 on this UHD. This great for fans that live overseas because most of these weren’t on the other home video releases but for the American audience it’s the same exact major track from the previous blu ray which is kinda shocking considering this is the 30th anniversary edition plus it’s the 4K debut for it. Don’t get me wrong, The TrueHD track has always been good but for a film like it, they could really went crazy with the sound. It also has a large variety of subtitles which includes English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Cantonese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Icelandic, Korean, Norwegian, Romanian, Swedish, & Thai on the release. Paramount proves once again that they are one of the best when it comes to the technical aspects especially for the foreign market. As far as extras goes, there’s not much here but it does have few additions & exclusives on it. It has “Filmmaker Focus: Days of Thunder” is almost 7 minutes & it;s interview with producer Jerry Bruckheimer. He chats about director Tony Scott. He talks about his style, his research, & his relationship with star Tom Cruise. He brings up his beautiful photography & crafty camera work. He mentions some of the cast like Nicole Kidman & Robert Duvall during his conversation. It has an “Isolated Score” that features the top notch & classic music from Days of Thunder. This is a really cool extra to have. It also has a slipcover & a digital code. A newer blu ray was released under the new Paramount Presents line. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!