Gran Turismo Movie Review

Image Credit: IMDb

Movie: Gran Turismo

Production Companies: PlayStation Productions, Colombia Pictures, 2.0 Entertainment, Sony Pictures, Trigger Street Productions, Michael De Luca Productions, Epic Films

Director: Neil Blomkamp

Producers: Carter Swan, Asad Qizilbash, Doug Belgrad, Dana Brunetti,

Scriptwriters: Jason Hall, Zach Baylin, Alex Tse

Main Cast: David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, Archie Madekwe

Release Date: 9th August 2023

Running Time: 135 minutes

Certificate: 12A


Neil Blomkamp- acclaimed director of ‘District 9’- infuses this video game adaptation with enough heart and ferocity to make up for it’s slightly weaker story elements.


Based on an unbelievable true story, a young aspiring video game player named Jann Mardenborough (played brilliantly by Archie Madekwe) – who dreams of racing cars in the real world- teams up with a former washed up racer Jack Salter (David Harbour) and corporate executive Danny Moore (Orlando Bloom) to compete in the most challenging and elite race in the world. Along the way, he will discover the rewards, risks and dangers that come from such dreams.


Hallelujah, a video game movie done right. I went into this with some degree of trepidation having read some very sniffy and mixed reviews and will therefore (perhaps) be the only person to say they loved it. The biggest obstacle audiences will face is the ‘unbelievable’ story that is being portrayed, (despite being based on true events). It’s tale that can be deemed as being so ridiculous that there is no way that it could have happened yet it very much did. It is entirely possible that the story may be too much for people to get on board with, I admit that I started to have doubts myself but, after having finally embraced and rolled with it, I was fine. This is however the only way that it will work and there is no way around, the film simply wont work if you are not on board. Make of this what you will.

Having been able to enjoy the sheer ridiculousness of it’s premise, this turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and exhilarating cinematic experiences I’ve had this year thanks to 4DX (where the seats move along with the film). I truly believe this is the best way to watch the film; had I not seen it in this fashion I can confidently say that it would not have been anywhere near as fun. The camera swoops and flies over race courses, in front, behind, beside and above the cars, and engines roar and growl as they race alongside one another, all of which is amplified through the rollercoaster-esque motions of your chair or the vibrations that emerge (you even feel every beat of the music used in the film). I was smiling giddily from ear to ear throughout. Even if you cannot see the film in 4DX however, I would still thoroughly recommend you see this in the cinema nonetheless.

The story wouldn’t work if it wasn’t for the performances, the central three being very good and watchable. David Harbour, however, steals the show as this mentor figure who much teach, guide and advise our young protagonist. I do wish we saw slightly more from Djimon Hounsou – Jann’s farther- who is skeptical of his sons ambitious (or in his opinion unrealistic) life ambitions. In the disappointingly limited screen time he has, I was still very impressed by him. That is one element I would say is weaker, a complicated, formulaic father / son relationship we have seen before. It does end up getting quite schmaltzy which I didn’t mind but some may be put off by. The same goes for Jann’s love interest Audrey (Maeve Courtier – Lily), who is just reduced to a love interest and nothing more.

I found myself to be far more emotionally engaged with the story than I thought I would be, a couple of moments causing me to well up slightly which showed that it was working. This is all made more impressive by the fact that this is all new ground for Neil Blomkamp, having spent his career in the sci fi genre with the fantastic ‘District 9’ and the equally ambitious but not as accomplished ‘Elysium’ and ‘Chappie’, for someone exploring new grounds here, I thought he did exceptionally well. It does of course call back heavily back to the video game (as it needs to) through creative ways that worked very well, although I wasn’t as keen on all the PlayStation product placement which didn’t need to be featured as much as it is. We know you’re based on a game, your logo does not need to be featured in every shot. All in all, this was very well executed, good solid fun with a great cast and an emotionally engaging story, however ridiculous it is. A nice and welcome surprise.

Overall rating: 7.5/10 – Good

Target audience: 8+

Content Warning: Language, Threat

Recommendation: Yes