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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Sports > Biking > Hell On Wheels (Tour de France)

Hell On Wheels (Tour de France Documentary)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Documentary: B-



How exciting can the Tour de France get?  For some, not much, but it is a big thrill and event for others.  Pepe Danquart’s Hell on Wheels (2004) gives us over two hours of coverage of a recent event and the pain the bodies of those involved have to endure to survive, let alone win.  If you can get into it, you’ll love it, but for others, it will either be a bore or have a run on tendency.


I give the producers credit for getting down and dirty in their quest to show as many aspects and as much detail as they can about the 100th bike race in the classic competition.  It is not just another cable/satellite channel broadcast of some foreign sports coverage, it keeps several interviews with coaches, doctors and participants going on throughout to get insight into the inner workings of the competition as it stands today.  Some classic footage is even included.  Even with this going on, it was still longer than it should have been, but I would rather have that than a lack of ambition and the kind of laziness we usually encounter on most releases.  Sports fans in general and biking fans particularly will be very happy.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image was shot on digital High Definition video and this has a solid look to it, but the colors are off since this is from a film transfer of the feature.  It would have been more pleasant if it had been digital all the way.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has Pro Logic surrounds and the combination is above the usual documentary standards, though most of this has the advantage of being new footage.  Extras include trailers for this and four other First Run DVDs, stills and a few bonus scenes with some behind the scenes shots.  The case gives the impression there are separate section of both, but that is not the case.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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