by Brad Nelson
I wonder how many people skipped over this film because of the strange title? It is an odd mix: a movie about motorcycles and Anthony Hopkins as the star. And yet it works.
Kid: Aren’t you scared you’ll kill yourself if you crash?
Burt: No. No. You, uh…you live more in five minutes on a bike like this going flat out than some people live in a lifetime.
Anthony Hopkins has the starring role playing the real-life kiwi, Burt Munro. Wiki says about Hopkins: “Hopkins stated that Munro was one of the easiest roles that he has ever played in his career, simply because Munro’s view on life was not all that different from his own.”
I’m not a big fan of Hopkins. But neither do I dislike him. He’s just not one of those actors like, say, Nicholson or De Niro, who I just love to watch on the screen even in a mediocre movie. (Not including the extremely slow-moving and too-long movie, Ironweed with Meryl Streep and Nicholson. This is the movie that is in constant rotation in Hell.) But I think Hopkins is good in this role, even charming.
And that is the definite emphasis of this film. This is a feel-good movie, so you’ll find no flying ninjas, gun fights, or naked ladies. But you will find lots of sentimentality, nice relationships, and real-earth moments. But I wouldn’t say that the movie is saccharine sweet. It’s definitely not all fun and games, but I won’t tell you more in case you haven’t seen it yet.
But you will be entertained, even if you’re not a motorcycle enthusiast. And after viewing this, you might wish that at least once you had lived at warp speed for at five minutes, no matter the consequences – unless, of course, it meant ending up like Christopher Reeve. But as Burt says, “Danger is the spice of life, and you’ve got to take a risk now and again…that’s what makes life worthwhile. And having some nice ladies around can certainly be a big help, mind you.”
I recommend this movie as can’t-miss entertainment. I give it 3-1/2 pistons out of 5. Take a chance. Forget the title and the motorcycles. This is more of a human interest story. And it’s fairly (but not completely) family-friendly as well.
Storyline: For 25 years in Invercargill at the south end of New Zealand, Burt Munro (1899-1978) has been working on increasing the speed of his motorcycle, a 1920 Indian. He dreams of taking it to the Bonneville Salt Flats to see how fast it will go. By the early 1960s, heart disease threatens his life, so he mortgages his house and takes a boat to Los Angeles, buys an old car, builds a makeshift trailer, gets the Indian through customs, and heads for Utah. Along the way, people he meets are charmed by his open, direct friendliness. If he makes it to Bonneville, will they let an old guy on the flats with makeshift tires, no brakes, and no chute? And will the Indian actually respond? More »