Faster – DVD Review/Retrospective

I recently bought the MotoGP documentary ‘Faster’ from Play.com, for a fiver it would have been rude not to. I first saw this in University soon after it had been released (2004 ish). I remember being impressed but not bowled over. This feeling has changed in the intervening six years, considerably. This is a difficult film to look at objectively for me thanks to my love for the subject matter, and due to the fact that there aren’t many films like this, on this subject matter around. However I think it’s a great display of what MotoGP was and can be.

The DVD was filmed in 2001/2002, the two pivotal seasons in MotoGP of the last few decades;  the last hurrah and then death of the 500cc 2-stroke. The archive film included is particularly relevant to someone of my age (26). When I was very young I had posters on Kevin Schwantz on the bedroom wall, these then became Valentino Rossi as I grew in to me teens, this is ‘my era’.

The due to the timescale involved, this film focuses on Valentino Rossi and Max Biaggi, frankly it had to. At the time these two were the top dogs in motorcycle racing. The clips of these two knocking lumps out of each other are simply thrilling, especially given the incredible tension between them both on and off track. Bar the Rossi/Biaggi battles, the other main interest is the Red Bull Yamaha with star riders Gary McCoy and John Hopkins, showing the pain and elation of going from being a top 500cc team in 2001 to merely giving the odd 990cc 4-stroke a bloody nose in 2002.

The film is augmented with several smaller sections. Lots of little asides like features on, Dr Costa – the genius who fixes up mangled riders, the 500cc bike – a simply evil machine with a wafer thin powerband and bad temper, Rossi’s celebrations – displaying the sharp wit of the man, even at a tender age, the animosity fuelled rivalries – Rainey vs Schwantz (early 1990s), Rossi vs Biaggi, as well as many more delightful clips. It’s a very easy film to watch, as it doesn’t get bogged down in the technicalities; you don’t need to be a bike nut to enjoy this.

The film is above all a celebration of the sport but is also unflinching in its portrayal of the damage the riders can do to themselves. While this might be sobering in isolation, it underlines the skills and risks involved in racing these machines.

Nostalgia is an odd thing, I blown away when it first came out, as I said earlier.  I put this down to those memories being too fresh in the memory, they lacked context. Seeing this footage, 8 or 9 years later and when put side by side with the current MotoGP format, makes me feel like the wide-eyed teenager again, sitting there in awe of what these guys got up to. Regardless of whether you’re a ‘bike person’ or not, I would implore you too seek out this DVD. Racing is racing and this displays that in its absolute purest form.

Trailer:

Itunes: http://www.itunes.com/movies/Faster

Play.com: http://www.play.com/DVD/DVD/4-/267801/Faster/Product.html

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One Response to “Faster – DVD Review/Retrospective”

  1. Brendan Schiralli Says:

    Its Definitely good bookmarking for future reference.

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