Checkered Flag

Watch Checkered Flag

  • NR
  • 1990
  • 1 hr 35 min
  • 4.8  (133)

Checkered Flag, a 1990 American sports drama film directed by John Glen, focuses on the life of Nicky (Billy Campbell) and his brother Jack Jr. (Rob Estes) who are aspiring racecar drivers. The film is set in a small town in Indiana where their father, Jack Sr. (Dean Stockwell), owns a repair shop and races for the local track. Nicky is viewed as the more talented and promising driver, while Jack Jr. struggles with car and alcohol addiction leading to his father's disappointment.

When a wealthy businessman, Clayton Hoover (Paul Sorvino), offers Nicky a sponsorship to race for his team, it not only changes Nicky's life but also fractures the brothers' relationship. Hoover offers Nicky the chance to race at the Indy 500, one of the most prestigious racing events in the world. However, Nicky feels guilty as he thinks his brother deserves the opportunity more, but he ultimately accepts the offer to help provide for his family.

The brothers start to drift apart with the focus on Nicky's successful career leading to jealousy and tension between them. Meanwhile, Jack Jr. continues to struggle with his addiction, spiraling out of control and leading to dangerous situations for himself and those around him.

As Nicky prepares for the Indy 500, he meets and falls for the charming and beautiful Karen (Amanda Wyss), Hoover's daughter. This love affair causes Nicky to forget the reason he is racing in the first place and leads to a dramatic crash during the race. In the aftermath, the family must come together to support each other and heal their wounds.

Checkered Flag is a typical sports drama film that highlights the struggles and sacrifices that come with pursuing a career in a highly competitive industry. The film portrays the racing world with authenticity, showcasing the risks and rewards that come with the profession. The film is not just about racing, but about family dynamics and the challenges, conflicts, and tensions that come with sibling rivalry, addiction, and love.

One of the most commendable aspects of the film is the inclusion of real-life racers in cameo roles who add authenticity to the racing sequences. The film features appearances by former Indy 500 winners Bobby Unser, Al Unser Jr., Danny Sullivan, and Emerson Fittipaldi. These cameos give racing fans an added thrill and authenticity.

The acting in the film is decent overall, with Billy Campbell being the standout performance. Campbell portrays Nicky's character with a mix of vulnerability and fortitude. Rob Estes' portrayal of Jack Jr. is also commendable as he manages to capture the struggles that come with addiction and the desperation to prove oneself.

However, the film's main flaw is its predictability. The story has many clichéd moments and follows a typical formulaic plotline of a rise, fall, and redemption narrative. The characters are not developed enough to create meaningful connections, leading the audience to feel less invested in their stories.

Overall, Checkered Flag is a decent sports drama film that offers an authentic and thrilling portrayal of the racing world. It highlights the sacrifices that come with pursuing a career in a highly competitive industry while also showcasing the importance of family, love, and overcoming addiction. Despite its predictable plotline and underdeveloped characters, the film offers an enjoyable and entertaining experience.

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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 35 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    4.8  (133)