The Doctor, The Tornado & The
by Mark Neale, Narrated by Ewan McGregor
DVD ($24.95), 95 minutes
Format: NTSC DVD
Review by Rick K. for webBikeWorld
I've become pretty jaded when it comes to motorcycle
videos. After all, we already have
incredible nail-biting MotoGP excitement every Sunday,
so what can a motorcycle racing video do to make it any
And, when I learned that The Doctor, The Tornado &
The Kentucky Kid (hereinafter known as "DTK") was made
by the same folks who made the awful "Faster"
MotoGP exploitation video, my hopes sank pretty low.
Faster is, in my opinion, basically a
compilation of TV video that Dorna figured they may as
well throw on a DVD rather then leave on the cutting
So when I popped the DTK disk into the DVD player and
one of the first things I see is, believe it or not,
stock MotoGP footage with -- get this -- telephone
interviews of Rossi, Hayden, Edwards and Hopkins, I
figured there was another 30 bucks down the tubes.
But I stuck with it and I'm glad I did. DTK is
a complete and successful film that stands on its own
because it has the single most important ingredient that
was missing from Faster -- a plot.
Of course, it's not a Shakespearean plot mind you,
but it works. It's as simple as this: follow
Valentino Rossi, Colin Edwards, Nicky Hayden and John
Hopkins as they prepare for and compete in the 2005
Laguna Seca round of the MotoGP championship.
The producers do a very nice job of making a logical,
compelling human interest story out of what could have
been a confusing mishmash that includes the
complexity, the hardware, the teamwork, the passion, the
mental and physical toughness and the excitement that
are the basic ingredients of MotoGP racing.
The film isn't really a nail-biter, because we
already know the outcome (why did it take so long to get
this thing to market?) but it's a complete story with
everything necessary to make it interesting.
I always preview new motorcycle videos with an
audience who knows nothing about the topic. I'll
study their reactions as they watch and I'll engage
them in conversation when it's finished. A virgin
helps to develop a much more objective understanding of
whether or not the storyline makes sense.
In this case, they loved it. The film covers enough
background detail for non-believers to grasp the basic
principles of MotoGP for them to get carried away
with the amazement and excitement and the anticipation
of World Championship motorcycle racing.
They really got into it, picking favorites and
oooohing, aaahhhhing and gasping during the crash scenes and radical
passes. So it's obvious that the storyline does
to tie together the players and their dreams in a way
that makes it compelling to newbies. But the video
also has enough detail to keep experienced armchair
MotoGP fanatics interested. And when you think about it, that's
not an easy trick.
All is not roses though -- there are a couple of flat spots
here and there. Besides the
aforementioned telephone interviews (that I assume were
added just prior to production when the producers must
have figured the video needed another angle), there's a
bit too much talk and not enough action during the
first 20 minutes or so, and this contributes to some audience
But the biggest faux pas is the absence of
Hopkins' name on the box.
"Hopper" plays a pretty hefty role in tying the film
together as the
outsider trying to bust the inner circle of podium
He adds a lot to the film and the
production spends quite some time developing his story.
One of the most powerful scenes in the film is towards
the end: a
close-up of Hopkins' face as Hayden, Edwards and Rossi
celebrate on the podium. It's somewhat ironic that
such a wistful can tell us volumes about why a MotoGP
racer does it. So why the film wasn't called "The Doctor, The
Kentucky Kid, Hopper and the Tornado" is beyond me, but
maybe that makes a clumsy title even more so, which then
also creates too many letters to fit on a DVD label.
In any case, I rate this film as one of the best
motorcycle racing stories I've seen. It's
relatively topical, unlike Faster, which featured the
old two-stroke 500cc bikes but was unfortunately
released just after the one-liter four-stroke era had
DTK is probably not a video you'll want to watch over
and over, so the best strategy may be to convince your
local library to buy a copy and then borrow it
rather than buy it. I'm also not sure it's an
absolute day-of-release must-see, but if you do get a
chance, check it out.
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