" Nobody goes into the valley of death. That’s why they call it the valley of death. "
— Grant Heslov, The Scorpion King

MRQE Top Critic

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Part of our coverage of the 2005 Starz Denver International Film Festival

Hopkins looks wistfully back on his past
Hopkins looks wistfully back on his past

It is 1962 in New Zealand. Burt Munro (Anthony Hopkins) is looking for something to punctuate his life. He’s been tinkering with his motorcycle for thirty years wants to race it at the Bonneville Salt Flats, just to see how fast she can really go.

The rest of the movie is details. These involve Hopkins facing one minor crisis after another as he inches his way closer to Utah from all the way around the world. None of the crises amount to much. Donaldson manages to create some tension from them (Will his bike survive the sea voyage? Will his health give out? Will he be allowed to race?). But really, Burt’s story seems to be not nearly as interesting or eventful as a feature film demands.

Giving the movie the benefit of the doubt, we can ask if maybe the point is not the drama, but the characters or the settings or the style. But one look at these and you realize they aren’t the point, either.

Even Hopkins is unable to raise this movie above its plot. He plays his usual self, looking wistfully into the distance, his eyes tearing up, as he reminisces about the old days, as he does in so many of his recent films. Of course, he’s great at it — he’s Anthony Hopkins — but it’s all he — and this movie — have to offer, and it’s not enough.

  • john mcgregor : while you might not think the film deliver's enough , you really don't have to do a lot to say alot ;my perspective is that the fastest indian in the world is a story about a man who had little but did much with what he had, and succeeded on the same level as those that had more resources and oppotunity
    some people have a lot ,but do very little with their lives.
    And then their are those that have little or nothing and do great and exceptional things . this kind of story should be enough to inspire
    greatness in those who think they have less than those around them .
    December 24, 2006 reply
  • Melissa J. McDonald: No matter what the reviewer says, for a certain audience this is just a great movie, and the most amazing part is that it's a true story. It's about having dreams and making them come true no matter what the odds. And my action-movie-loving husband was glued to the set to the end. November 10, 2007 reply