Thursday, 13 April 2017

Retro Review: Race The Sun (1996)

Race The Sun
Cast: Halle Berry, James Belushi, Casey Affleck, Eliza Dushku
Genre: Comedy Drama
US Box Office Gross: over $1.9 million

Plot: A bunch of high school misfits in Hawaii, introduced by their new teacher, attend a science fair in which they draw up inspiration to build their own solar car & win a trip to compete in the 1990 world solar challenge in Australia

'Unmemorable and Bland Family Drama'

A sort of Cool Runnings Meets Dead Poets Society and Dangerous Minds set in Hawaii, Race The Sun is a family flick that is at best an average effort but is really a lacklustre bore of huge proportions, despite its good intentions and the good performances by Halle Berry and Casey Affleck. Race The Sun also marks one of Halle Berry's earliest showings as the main star of a film, after supporting turns in Boomerang, The Last Boy Scout & the live action Flintstones movie, based on the Hanna Barbera property.

The film, which is loosely based on a true story, started off promisingly, with Halle's Miss Becham, an English teacher making her entrance at the school, only to end up teaching Science. The kids, who just like in Dangerous Minds are a bunch of misfits, then attend a science fair only to be challenged by a group of preppy students in entering a race. The race then switches from Hawaii to Australia, but then after that, the story becomes mundane and unmemorable. The solar car idea should have been more entertaining but its execution is very dull and not interesting to sit through.

Halle Berry's performance was actually pretty good and she brings about that presence, warmth, enthusiasm and likeability. Her character joins the likes of other movie based teachers in John Keating (Dead Poets Society), Katherine Watson (Mona Lisa Smile) and Lou Ann Johnston (Dangerous Minds). Though the remaining characters remain as stocky and one-dimensional and lacking in personality.

The film just feels so jaded, stale and boring, despite Halle showing how good an actress she can be. Yet not even the cars can sustain my interest in Race The Sun.

Final Verdict:

Had the story been a lot more entertaining to sit through, I would have cared more for it. Instead, it feels utterly drab and dull with characters lacking in charisma and depth aplenty. Despite the likes of Halle Berry and James Belushi, this is utterly forgettable and yet it doesn't provide much in the way of anything else. Race The Sun should have been approached better.

Catwoman might have been cheesy awful - and still, I found it entertaining with watchable moments. This mid-1990s Halle Berry movie, on the other hand, was the opposite.

Catwoman >> some bizarre and what the heck moments, yet entertaining and watchable in a way. Race The Sun >> forgettable and sleep inducing, and incredibly vanilla.


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