I’ve just watched the second instalment of the Iron Man film series, which was released in Australia on Thursday, and I’m delighted to report that there’s (of all things!) a F1 scene at Monaco!
In this edition, Stark (Downey Jr) discovers his designs for the Iron Man suit have somehow made it into the hands of a sinister Russian physicist (played by the very surgically-enhanced Mickey Rourke) hell-bent on avenging the reputation of his father. In turn, the physicist is later recruited to assist Stark’s rival, Justin Hammer (Sam Rockwell) in designing Iron Man-like droids to sell the technology to the US military, as Stark has persistently refused to reveal his designs to the powers-that-be.
OK, enough of that – I know it’s the Monaco bit you’re interested in!
Somehow merged into the plot is a trip to Monaco for the Monaco Historic Grand Prix, where – surprise, surprise – the narcissistic Stark has a car entered for himself in the race!
What he doesn’t know is that the sinister physicist will be there as well, posing as a track marshal to ambush Stark mid-race and attempt to kill him with his prototype Iron Man outfit, equipped with special lightning bolt arms.
OK, a couple of things. For F1 purists, the entire scene is rather unrealistic / stupid / contrived / perhaps insulting (delete as applicable). In terms of continuity and reality, it largely falls on its own sword, as indeed have many films that have tried to incorporate motor racing into its plot.
Firstly, the Historic Monaco Grand Prix features classic F1 cars up to circa 1978, with separate races divided to cater for the respective eras of the cars in question. The identical ‘F1’ cars shown in this sequence bore little resemblance to any F1 car I’ve seen, and I could only liken to a version of a Formula 5000 car from the 1970s!
A few fun things! Apparently, these ‘F1’ cars always roll when they crash. I’ve never seen an F1 car hit with a lightning bolt, but if it barrel-rolls end-over-end, nose-to-tail, then I’ll take the director’s word for it…
Watch the fight scene between Downey Jr and Rourke – Monaco’s buildings seem to come and go!
Safety features seem obviously lacking. Why isn’t Stark wearing a fireproof balaclava? Or indeed, anything fireproof? Where were the marshals’ yellow flags warning of danger on the track when the bad guy stepped onto the middle of the circuit?
Why is Stark wearing a motorcycle rider’s suit instead of a racing driver’s overalls? Why is the cockpit he’s sitting in so incredibly large?
For those of you familiar with the Monaco circuit, why did Stark’s rescuers (including Gwyneth Paltrow’s character, Pepper Potts) take the long route from their viewing site to rescue Stark from danger? They were watching the race from the Hotel de Paris at the Massenet and decided to drive the reverse route of the circuit – purely to create the stunt of the product-placed Rolls Royce driving head on into the path of the ‘F1’ cars at race speed. Their route – via Beau Rivage, Ste Devote, La Rascasse, The Swimming Pool to Tabac (the site of the battle) was much longer than a quick drive via Mirebeau, Loews and the Tunnel… Strange…
By no means is this film at the shoddily bad standards of Sylvester Stallone’s Driven, but its F1 sequence isn’t too many rungs on the ladder higher, I’m afraid.
I could go on, but I won’t. To enjoy it, one needs to look past the mistakes and be taken for the ride (forgive the pun). Forget that you’re a motorsport fan, be prepared to forgive the errors, and you’ll find it quite good for a laugh!
I found the film overall very enjoyable, and I was impressed that the crew had done their best to faithfully recreate the atmosphere and layout of the Monte Carlo circuit – much of the filming of this sequence was done during the 2009 Monaco GP itself. Visually, the ‘F1’ scene is as punchy as the rest of it.
I just wish that film-making that features motorsport would be left to those who know a bit more about it…