It is not a requirement—nor even recommended—that film characters be lovable angels free of imperfections, but, if they aren't engaging enough to care about following, what are prospective viewers left with? It is this considerable pitfall that plagues "Rush," director Ron Howard's (2011's "The Dilemma") uninspired biopic about the tumultuous rivalry and eventual respect formed between 1970s Formula One racers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl). Hunt, a smooth-talking, hard-living Brit, and Lauda, a determined, technically savvy Austrian, meet in 1970 at a Formula Three race in London and don't take long to lock horns as opponents with vastly dissimilar personalities. Hunt sees Lauda as a man who paid to get where he is (he took out a hefty bank loan to buy his way onto the Formula One team), while Lauda regards Hunt as a reckless, immature loose cannon consumed more by fame and women than he is the skill that goes into professional car racing. Largely centering around the 1976 competitive season, Hunt and Lauda cross the globe while fighting for the title of World Champion, participating in Grand Prix in Italy, Brazil, Germany and Japan. As the excess-heavy Hunt jumps the rails when model wife Suzy Miller (Olivia Wilde) leaves him for Richard Burton, Lauda faces an uphill battle after receiving debilitating third-degree burns in the German Grand Prix. No matter who wins the season, they both have demons to overcome extending far beyond their contentious attempts to rise to the top.
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