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Days of Thunder (UHD Blu-ray) review

Days of Thunder (UHD Blu-ray) review
« on: May 15, 2020, 05:20:23 PM »

Studio: Paramount     
Release Date: May 19, 2020
Rating: PG-13
Film: 3/5

From the engine roar and fever pitch of professional stock car racing, Days of Thunder explodes with some of the most spectacular racing action ever captured on film. Tom Cruise plays race car driver Cole Trickle, whose talent and ambition are surpassed only by his burning need to win. Discovered by businessman Tim Daland (Randy Quaid), Cole is teamed with legendary crew chief and car-builder Harry Hogge (Robert Duvall) to race for the Winston Cup at the Daytona 500. A fiery crash nearly ends Cole’s career and he must turn to a beautiful doctor (Nicole Kidman) to regain his nerve and the true courage needed to race, to win and to live.

My Thoughts
I’m not ashamed to admit that I like Tom Cruise as an actor. Most of his films are entertaining and he has turned into arguably the most bankable action stars of his generation with the Mission Impossible franchise. He came to fame with some teenage roles, but it was hit third movie, Risky Business, that made him a star. Three years after that he became a superstar when Top Gun became the #1 movie in 1986 with over 45 million tickets sold (about a $450 million US box office today).

This was his first and only attempt at writing and while not bad, the film is hardly original. He came up with the story along with Robert Towne, and Towne ended up writing the actual screenplay. What struck me as I watched the film for the first time in 30 years is that the story was very familiar and then it struck me—it’s essentially the same themes as Top Gun, but instead of a fighter pilot, the protagonist is a race car driver. The performances are good all around, especially from Cruise and Duvall, and I have to say that Nicole Kidman looked even more beautiful at 23 than I remembered.

The UHD transfer is quite good for a 1990 film, but you better like film grain. There wasn’t a Blu-ray to compare it to, but I’m sure this is the best the film has looked since its theatrical debut. Flesh tones are a tad hot, but the overall pallet is very saturated, especially with the cornucopia of colors on the various racecars. The audio track is a standard TrueHD 5.1 track (sorry, no Atmos) and really shines during the race sequences. The score from Hans Zimmer is decent but uses a lot of the same musical cues from his better-known movies, such as Driving Miss Daisy, which came out one year prior to this. 

Video 8/10

Audio 8/10 (Dolby Atmos)

Special Features:
  • Retrospective with Jerry Bruckheimer
  • Isolated Score
  • Digital Copy

While hardly original or memorable, I can’t say I wasn’t entertained by the film. Then again, I’m a Cruise fan, so it’s hard to not like many of the movies he stars in. If you fall in that camp, this 4K release is pleasing and worth purchasing if you can find it for a decent deal.   

Reference Review System:
Reference Review System:
 JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
 (Calibrated with Portrait Displays CalMAN color calibration software & C6-HDR Meter from Portrait Displays)
 Stewart Filmscreen - Firehawk 110” 2.35:1 Fixed Screen
 Anthem AVM60 Audio/Video Processor
 ATI AT527NC Powering Bed Channels

ATI AT524NC Powering Atmos Speakers
 Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
 System Controller: URC MX-980

M&K S-150 THX Ultra (R-C-L Speakers)
M&K SS-150 x4 (Surround Speakers)
 Atlantic Technology IC6-OBA x 4 Overhead Speakers
 SVS PC-Ultra Cylinder Subwoofer
 HSU VTF-15H MK2 Subwoofer
 JL Audio Fathom F110 Subwoofers x 2 (stacked)

JL Audio Dominion D110 Subwoofer x 2 (stacked)
Mini DSP HD controlling all subwoofers
 Audioquest and Monoprice - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
 PureAV PF60 Power Conditioner

Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine


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Re: Days of Thunder (UHD Blu-ray) review
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2020, 05:47:22 PM »
I've never seen this film, but took the plunge and pre-ordered it with Top Gun. Looks fun. 
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