You’ll be hard pressed to find a more exhilarating, exciting and dangerous motorsport than MotoGP. MotoGP is the oldest of all motorsport World Championships and the second largest motorsport in the world, reaching more than 233 million households worldwide. No surprise then that the sport inspired Faster and Fastest director Mark Neale to make a new film.
Presented by MotoGP super fan Brad Pitt, Hitting the Apex tells the inside story of six of the fastest MotoGP racers of all time – Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa, Marco Simoncelli and Marc Marquez. The feature documentary portrays the intense rivalry between the daredevil motorcycle riders and the fates that awaited them at the peak of the sport.
Hitting the Apex begins at the start of 2010 season during one of the most closely fought MotoGP championships in recent history. Director Neale does a fantastic job of portraying the extreme competition between the racers as they chase for glory at over two hundred miles an hour on a motorcycle. There are plenty of heart-in-the-mouth moments showing high-speed crashes (which look all the more horrifying in slow-motion) showing how Pedrosa and Lorenzo both broke their collarbones, Lorenzo lost the end of his ring finger and Marquez damaged his optic nerve. The footage of the fatal crash in Malaysia which cost rising star Simoncelli his life in 2011 is also particularly chilling, emphasising how dangerous the sport is.
What makes Hitting the Apex so special is that you don’t need to be a MotoGP fan to enjoy it. Whilst the main focus is on the on-track battles, the film also captures the strong bonds and camaraderie that exists in this top-level professional sport. The friendship between rising star Simoncelli and nine-times world champion Rossi and is particularly touching, as is the way the fans teams and racers pulled together after Simoncelli’s death.
The film also looks at the phenomenal rise of young rookie Marc Marquez and his attempt to become the fastest and most brilliant rider of them all. The film concludes with Marquez taking his first championship win in his rookie season in 2013, becoming the youngest winner ever in MotoGP.
While Hitting the Apex is sure to appeal to MotoGP fans, the film feels a little out-of-place on the big screen and is more suited to DVD release. The subtitles are also difficult to read at times, which interrupts the flow of the film.
Despite this, the film is well put together, featuring a stunning mix of action and behind-the-scenes footage as well as exclusive interviews. The sequence which covers Rossi’s difficult first season with Ducati in 2011 is particularly good with Neale cleverly merging crash footage with a classical music soundtrack.
Entertaining, riveting and hard-hitting, Hitting the Apex is a fascinating feature documentary about one of the most exhilarating sports of all time.
Hitting the Apex is released in UK cinemas from September 2 and on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD on September 7.
This review was originally written for ScreenRelish