Friday, November 28, 2008

DVD Review: The Doctor, The Tornado & The Kentucky Kid

The festive season is on the way, and people are casting around for gift ideas, so here's a review of a MotoGP documentary DVD: The Doctor, The Tornado and The Kentucky Kid. It comes from the makers of the definitive MotoGP documentary, Faster. It's narrated by Ewan McGregor. It tells the story of MotoGP's return to the United States, at Laguna Seca in 2005.

This documentary is obviously aimed at the U.S. market, as it follows three American MotoGP riders: Nicky Hayden, Colin Edwards and John Hopkins. Alright, Hopper is English by blood and Edwards is half Australian (his Aussie dad is interviewed) but it's basically Yankocentric. Although Valentino Rossi appears in the title, there isn't anywhere near as much of him as of the three Americans.

While Faster followed MotoGP in the transitional period where 500cc 2-stroke bikes were being replaced by 990cc 4-stroke machines, The Doctor, The Tornado and The Kentucky Kid is centred on one race weekend in the 990cc era, giving it a different feel. It doesn't bother trying to introduce all of the racers and engineers, just sticks with its three main characters. That's no bad thing, as Nicky, Colin and Hopper are all hugely likeable and charismatic individuals.

The first part of the documentary introduces our three heroes, tells us how they got started in racing, talks to some of their family members, and describes the history of the Laguna Seca racetrack. Next it guides us through the practise and qualifying sessions. Finally, it shows us the race from the viewpoints of Nicky, Colin and Hopper.

This is where the documentary really shines. There is a great deal of on-bike footage, with voice-overs from the three lads and Valentino talking about what they were thinking at that stage of the race. The in-depth treatment makes the difference between this documentary and Faster. Having watched this year's series of 800cc snoozefests, it's great to see a good, honest 990cc race. Grumbling, torquey bikes and overtaking are the name of the game, and it's brilliant.

It isn't just an update to Faster, like Faster and Faster (which was packaged as part of a 2-disk set with Faster). It's a separate documentary that stands up on its own.

So, would I recommend it as a gift, or as something to put on your wish-list? In a word, yes. The Doctor, The Tornado and The Kentucky Kid is well worth having. It complements Faster nicely, and it makes you yearn for the 990cc era. The running time is a generous 1 hour 43 minutes, and there are plenty of DVD extras, especially with the 2-disk version. Any MotoGP fan will love it.

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