“Days of Thunder” stars Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Robert Duvall, Randy Quaid, and Cary Elwes. Released on June 27, 1990, the film is about a young race car driver who competes in the NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
The film is directed by Tony Scott, who also directed films such as Top Gun, True Romance, Crimson Tide, Man on Fire, and Unstoppable. Before we see Tom Cruise go toe-to-toe with a cursed Egyptian princess in the upcoming Mummy reboot, I decided to look back at one of Cruise’s earlier films, but here’s the catch: it’s a film that I haven’t seen before. While it received mixed reviews from critics during its release, it was a financial success at the box office. It even earned an Oscar nomination for Best Sound and spawned two video games. Now that I finally saw it for the very first time, you’re probably wondering what I truly think of this NASCAR drama. Well, let’s just say it has its moments, but not enough to be considered one of the late Tony Scott’s finest works.
One of the easiest flaws that this film had was the story. While it did provide some entertaining race sequences (more on that later), the overall story was basically a flat tire that kept the film from finishing the race. There are plenty of sports movies that favor both strong storytelling and exhilarating sports action. This film seems to favor the latter over the former, which gave me a hard time to care about the characters onscreen. Speaking of which, the cast did their part in portraying the film’s characters despite the fact that they weren’t that memorable, with Tom Cruise and Robert Duvall being the highlights. The screenplay was filled with plenty of cliched moments that we’ve seen in multiple sports films before. Combine that with its flawed storytelling and you’ve got yourself a mediocre sports drama that failed to provide more than just a guy competing in NASCAR. But I wouldn’t count this film out just yet. The NASCAR races, in my opinion, were the best parts of the film, mostly because of the sound editing. It’s loud, it’s fierce, and it’s almost realistic. It felt like I was a part of the experience myself. I saw this film at my closest cinema and you wouldn’t believe how loud those sequences were. Another thing that I liked was Hans Zimmer’s score. I’m not sure why, but it definitely had me hooked every time his music started playing in the background.
Overall, “Days of Thunder” is a cliched sports movie that’s more on the action and less on storytelling. While Tom Cruise gave it his all with the help of the film’s sound editing and Hans Zimmer’s score, it’s not enough to prevent it from coming in last place. It was a nice experience watching it on the big screen for the first time, don’t get me wrong. It’s just the fact that the film could’ve been done a lot better to meet my expectations. If you’re a fan of Tom Cruise, then I think you’ll like this one more than I did.