Fictional and dated sports in fillms
Everyone loves sports, hell you even have movies about sports. While that is an article for another time, I thought I’d have a bit of fun with the concept. There are movies out there that make up sports as a plot piece, tension builder or just an excuse for nudity and gore. Now I’m not equating Hockey with Gladiatorial combat, but everyone enjoys a bit of ridiculousness now and then and films are the perfect entertainment medium to deliver that craving. So I present my favourite sports movies that involve non-current, fictional and unusual sports.
1. Lightcycle racing in Tron: While Tron(1982) an obvious pick, it is perfect. Jeff Bridges gets sucked into a virtual world he created and has to fight his way out and save the world. Tron is the movie that made throwing cardboard discs and wearing spandex tights cool, if for only a little while. The lightcycle racing in Tron overshadowed everything else and is what most people remember (apart from the disc throwing) of the film. The race is flashy, futuristic and colourful; watching someone shatter hitting a light beam is always a pleasure. Even if the effects are dated (Tron was the first film to extensively use CGI), it became a big enough cult hit for a sequel, Tron:Legacy to be made.
2. All of Death Race: Death Race(2008) is the perfect reimagining of an exploitation film (Death Race 2000) with a higher budget and bigger cast. Prisons are overflowing and to counteract this problem and make money, car races to the death are held for tv audiences. A dangerous course and weapons mounted on cars is allowed. Watching people driving cars with guns mounted on them is just plain cool. I know a lot of people didn’t like it, but what did you expect? It’s an exploitation film thinly veiled as a popcorn flick. An exploitation film is something that has gratuitous violence, nudity and monsters. Plot is secondary. A good example of exploitation film is Hostel.
3. Chariot racing in Ben-Hur: You guys thought I was going to recommend Gladiator? On its own, that would have been too easy. Ben-Hur (1959) is a fantastic film starring Charlton Heston as a Jewish prince who is wrongfully convicted by the Romans and forced to become a slave. After a Roman captain releases Ben, he becomes a chariot racer to earn money and get revenge. The most famous scene of the film is the 17 minute chariot race. Charlton Heston raced in the chariot himself, giving the dangerous event even more realism. An excerpt of the race can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKnFLPV2yDY
4. Spartacus: Spartacus (1960) is masterfully directed by Stanley Kubrick and stars the gravelly Kirk Douglas and tells the sordid tale of an imprisoned slave trained and forced to fight for the Romans, before leading a slave rebellion (training your slaves to fight, never a good idea). The final action scene is my favourite and the best example of the brutality towards the slaves that occurs in the film. In the scene, Spartacus is forced to duel with his friend, Antoninus to the death. The fight can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GomzGvUBT1s&t=6m21s
5. Chess scene in The Seventh Seal – The Seventh Seal (1957) by Ingmar Bergman has one of the most famous scenes, sports or otherwise, in film history. It shows a knight on his return from the crusades coming face to face with Death. To stop the inevitable, the knight challenges Death to a chess game. The knight literally is playing for his life. Make fun of foreign black and white films all you want, but the scene is wonderfully shot and very powerful.