Gran Turismo Review


Sports movies are tricky. So are video game adaptations. Thankfully for Gran Turismo, rather than attempt to spin a narrative out of gameplay, the plot capitalizes on the unique opportunity to showcase its game (that's actually an extremely advanced driving simulator) through Jann Mardenborough's extraordinary real-life journey from gamer-to- professional race car driver. 

In Neill Blomkamp's (District 9) hands Gran Turismo is slick, well-paced, and visually engaging. The storytelling weaves the game creation by Kazunori Yamauchi (Takehiro Hira) backstory in but really revolves around British teenager Jann Mardenborough (Archie Madekwe). It's a highly relatable story of a young man who dreams of a career that seems beyond his means to achieve. He gets a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to prove his worth and make his dreams a reality. His adventure starts with winning a competition designed to identify the best Gran Turismo drivers in the world. The prize: access to a specialty racing academy run by Nissan and a chance to earn a spot on their professional racing team. 

Gran Turismo's solid ensemble performances, dynamic race sequences (based on real races Mardenborough participated in) and the light Hollywood gloss on the chronology keep you invested right through until the end. It's imminently watchable as racing movie. This is a move based on a marketing ploy turned Cinderella story so expect to see the products in question on screen. However, you'll be pleasantly surprised that Blomkamp stayed the narrative course all the way through. 

Listen as Ro and Kriss discuss Gran Turismo now.


Writers: Jason Hall, Zach Baylin
Runtime: 2h 15m

Starring: Sophie Wilde, Joe Bird, Alexandra Jensen, Otis Dhanji, Miranda Otto

Synopsis: Based on the true story of Jann Mardenborough, the film is the ultimate wish fulfillment tale of a teenage Gran Turismo player whose gaming skills won a series of Nissan competitions to become an actual professional racecar driver.

Gran Turismo: Based On A True Story opened wide in theaters August 25, 2023.

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Charles (Kriss)

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