Barry Pepper is an actor who seems to have an affinity for playing sports heroes, Roger Maris and now Dale Earnhardt. Pepper also seems to have an affinity to star in movies with numbers in the title, 51, 25th Hour, and now 3 – The Dale Earnhardt Story. ESPN presents an original sports movie about the iconic racing driver who lived and died (literally) on the track.
Being a sports fan, I have a soft place in my heart for sports bio pics. They have a tendency to be clichéd, by nature…. We usually see the rise of the sports hero from humble beginnings to glory. There are hardships along the way, familial tension, and of course “the big game” (or in this case, the “big race”). 3 is no exception to the cliché ridden sports movie. But the story is well told and serves a lasting testament to a sports legend.
Barry Pepper plays Dale Earnhardt. While not as brilliant as his Roger Maris portrayal, Pepper brings truth to a role that, on the surface, seems limited. Earnhardt doesn’t seem to be a complicated man or have many major psychological hang-ups. One of the major keys to acting though is to “just be there”. Pepper is “there” in every scene and believable. The racing scenes are well filmed and put the audience right on the track.
The 1:78:1 video transfer is clean and flawless. Virtually no defects or glitches. The colors are natural but remain colorful. This transfer belongs in the winner’s circle.
Racing fans will be happy with the 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track. The “vroom vroom” of the cars can be heard loud and clear. And there’s an adequate use of speaker directionality during the racing sequences. A little more would’ve been nice. But the audio track is very good.
There are a lot of features on this Two Disc special edition.
“The Making of 3” is a 35 minute behind the scene featurette. The doc covers the elements of bringing it all together. The director, the producers, and Barry Pepper do an excellent job of explaining the thematic and technical ideas behind the production.
“3 Nation – The Life and Legacy of Dale Earnhardt” is a solid 45 minute piece which features interviews with the friends and fans that knew him best.
There are “Exclusive Interviews” with Dale himself. In total, they all run about an hour. One can see why Dale’s personality attracted a lot of racing fans. Nicknamed “The Intimidator”, Mr. Earnhardt seems like a very nice man.
There are 2 hours of “Racing Hilights”. Driving fans will be very pleased. There’s also about 40 minutes of “Guest Appearances”. We have footage of Dale on various ESPN shows.
While not a racing fan myself (and I use the bus a lot), I can see why people have passion for the sport and its patron saint, Dale Earnhardt. 3 – The Dale Earnhardt Story is a fully loaded DVD edition that makes this a must purchase for fans. For casual viewers and cineastes, 3 has a lot of the elements that make up a story well told.
Special Features List
- Making-of Featurette
- “3 Nation – The Life and Legacy of Dale Earnhardt” Documentary
- Interviews with Earnhardt
- Racing Highlights
- Guest Appearances