Days of Thunder 
Blu-ray Sports
Written by Noah Fleming   
Monday, 12 January 2009

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"Days of Thunder" is a huge rip-off of the 1986 blockbuster, "Top Gun."  The characters, creators, and story are all the same.  The only thing that has changed is we have gone from fighter jets to race cars.  Both films were produced and directed by Jerry Bruckheimer and Tony Scott.  Both films star Tom Cruise.  But, whereas "Top Gun" was a success, fans could easily tell that "Days of Thunder" was a rip-off and it showed at the box office.

The plot is ever familiar.  Fighter jets have been morphed into race cars, and Miramar has been transformed into NASCAR.  Tom Cruise goes from call sign Maverick to driver Cole Trickle (like that name is any better).  The characters are the same, gun-ho instincts with no experience and a hard time following the rules of the road (or sky).  Let's not forget the love interest.  Kelly McGillis has transformed into Nicole Kidman.  Both are feisty and probably the best part of each film.  Lastly, the film climaxes with a big race sequence.  The end.

The rest of the elements in the film can be gotten from "Gone In 60 Seconds," including Robert Duvall.  All the themes are the same between the two films.  Cole goes through a fear of losing and a fear of getting back on a race track after a huge crash.  He has trouble with commitment, bringing Kidman in close and then pushing her away.

It is a wonder how this film was made.  I wonder if the producers and creators ever stopped and thought, "Hey, doesn't this all seem familiar?"  The film does have a couple of shining moments, but they are obscured by the awfulness of the film in general.  Surprisingly the film is able to drag on for an hour and 50 minutes.  It probably could have been condensed into 15 minutes.  Not a good sign.

The video quality is only slightly better than the film itself.  The Blu-ray transfer looks to have used the same print as the 1999 DVD release of the film.  The film's opening is not very encouraging.  It is plagued with dirt, blemishes, scratches, and grain.  Throughout the rest of the film, the same video quality persists.  Most of the film also lacks in details and any type of shadow delineation.  I do have to say that the colors are quite outstanding for the most part.  There are times when they do become dull.  The neon greens are quite vibrant.  There is also some edge enhancement.  However, for once, it is not as distracting as all the other image problems.

The audio quality is probably the best part of the Blu-ray presentation.  It is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1.  The bass is kicking, although not as tight as more recent blockbuster films.  The dialogue is strongly present in the center channel, although brittle at times.  The entire audio track is a little on the bright side.  The surround channels are used fairly decently for a 1990 film.  However, it is rare to find discrete effects in the surrounds.  They are mainly occupied with a cluster of sounds clashing together.  All the burning tires and vroom vroom sounds become quite tiring.  Still, the track is good for its age.

You can forget about bonus materials.  Not sure what went on here, but the only thing available is a theatrical trailer.

"Days of Thunder" is a rip-off.  There is no two ways about it.  Unfortunately, the gamble by the creators didn't pay off, and now the Blu-ray doesn't offer anything spectacular in the way of video and audio.  You will probably want to avoid this title and unless you are a tremendous fan.
Studio Paramount Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating PG-13
Starring Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Robert Duvall, Randy Quaid, Cary Elwes, Michael Rooker, John C. Reilly, Don Simpson, Chris Ellis
Director Tony Scott
Film Release Year 1990
Release Year 2008
Resolution(s) 1080p (main feature) • 1080p (supplements)
Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Running Time 1 hr. 47 mins.
Sound Formats English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 • French Dolby Digital 5.1 • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English SDH • English • French • Portuguese • Spanish
Special Features Theatrical Trailer
Forum Link
Reviewer Noah Fleming

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