Pop star David Essex was one of the few music stars in the 1970’s to transfer to acting in a moderately successful way with films like That’ll Be the Day and Stardust. In 1980 he made Silver Dream Racer co-starring Beau Bridges and directed by David Wickes.
Nick Freeman (David Essex) is an aspiring motorcycle racer. But after Nick’s brother dies before he is able to test and race the new experimental motorcycle he’s developed, Nick inherits the responsibility to prove his brother’s design will work on a race track. In spite of a series of tough setbacks, including the loss of his girlfriend, Nick goes into the big race at the British Grand Prix with all his energy and concentration bent on winning. But underhanded American racer (Beau Bridges) is also among the competitors and he is determined to ruin Nick’s chances.
The movie is loosely based on the rivalry between the late Barry Sheene and Kenny Roberts who were both high profile motorcycle racers at the time. While the acting is of the usual standard for a British film of this period, the main problem is lack of action on the track, which is a shame, because what is seen is well shot and edited.
David Essex has good screen presence but the film plods along waiting for the next race to start and the bits of humour, as well as the overall style of the film, has dated badly. The final race is exciting in parts, but the ending is very unexpected and seems strangely out of place considering the tone of the rest of the movie. A curious piece of late 70’s British cinema which has not stood the test of time well at all.
The Blu ray has been released by Network in the UK and the overall presentation is satisfactory if not especially noteworthy. The HD picture is ok, if not spectacular and a little flat in sections. Audio is fine again nothing great but the races do come alive as well as the music when it does kick in. Extras are poor with just a trailer and alternate ending. For fans of the film or David Essex, others should approach with caution.
FILM 5 PICTURE: 6 AUDIO: 6 EXTRAS: 3