‘A lot more high octane than its predecessors’ – Gran Turismo review | Films | Entertainment

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We’re a few laps into the “based on a true product” craze, with films like Air (trainers), The Beanie Bubble (cuddly toy), and the upcoming Blackberry (defunct phones) offering us exciting tours of strip-lit boardrooms.

Thankfully, despite some pretty relentless product placement, Gran Turismo is a lot more high octane than its predecessors.

It gets off to an ominously dull start with marketing executive Danny Moore (Orlando Bloom) arriving at the headquarters of Japanese car company Nissan.

In a presentation peppered with dramatic pauses, Moore praises the Earth-shattering racing game and lays out an epoch-defining marketing scheme.

“A competition. For the best players in the world. To compete at professional racing.”

When we jump to the Cardiff bedroom of surly gamer Jann Mardenborough (Archie Madekwe), we know it’s time to strap ourselves in for an underdog sports drama.

Racing types will know that the real-life Mardenborough made a shocking transition from virtual to actual racing star. Here, he is also Madekwe’s stunt double.

Early scenes hammer home his underdog status. His dad, former Cardiff City footballer Steve (Djimon Hounsou), doesn’t support his dreams to become the next Lewis Hamilton. His mum Lesley (the actual Ginger Spice) seems nice but insincere. We can only assume this is what Geri Halliwell-Horner was aiming for. But, after Jann posts a high score, Bloom’s face looms up on his screen, inviting him to compete for a spot on the Nissan racing team.

Following a few dramatic setbacks, Jann, thanks to a certain brilliant Japanese car firm and the “world’s most accurate racing simulator”, achieves his impossible dream.

Director Neill Blomkamp cuts through the cheese with remarkable high-speed driving sequences that demand to be watched on the big screen.

And thank heavens for David Harbour who delivers a much-needed dose of cynicism as the grizzled trainer with the tragic back story.

I don’t own a games console and I can’t afford a new motor but I fall for this stuff every time.

Gran Turismo, Cert 12A, In cinemas now

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