“Bragging Rights 2” makes me want to go out and drive.
In the end, that’s exactly what it’s designed to do. Much like a skateboarding film for the aspiring skateboarder, or just about any promo film for that matter (especially their highlight work for race teams), it inspires by eschewing a lot of traditional narrative elements in favor of shooting the action.
In fact, BR2 compares quite well to skateboarding films for a number of reasons. The races highlighted on the film are all broken up into segments of a few minutes each, much like an individual skater’s part in a movie. This works well because you can easily pick and choose the events you’d like to watch if you’re not interested in watching the whole movie (though, if you’re a fan, there’s no reason you would skip around).
John Tuba’s filmography and editing throughout BR2 is superb. The footage is unreal, especially of accidents—it’s very clearly the work of people who have been around the sport and know how to capture the greatest action. The mix is tight, with a soundtrack that fits and the raw engine sound is well integrated. Humor is well incorporated, from the shots of trophy trucks driving past bikini-clad women to the time-lapse footage of a buggy driver hacking down a tree in the Silver State 300 so he can continue on his way.
The film covers off-road racing from numerous sanctioning bodies, including SCORE (both the Baja 500 and 1000 are featured) and Best in the Desert. It also features a cameo from Robby Gordon’s Stadium Super Trucks, with footage shot long before that series’ debut earlier this year. The SST promo reads almost like a commercial in the middle of the film because of where it’s dropped in, but the outstanding jump footage and great side-by-side short course action at Crandon more than make up for it.
Truth be told, there’s not much to complain about with BR2. That being said, despite the introductory graphics at the start of each segment, there is a frustrating lack of chyrons to introduce drivers to an off-road outsider. Legends like Rob MacCachren and Robby Gordon are easy to identify, but if you don’t know who’s talking, you have to wait until the credits.
Overall, it’s clear that there’s a ton of potential here for the series to continue. When (there shouldn’t be a question of “if”) Bragging Rights gets another sequel, the thought of Tuba following around a handful of drivers and developing a season-long narrative is incredibly tantalizing. It’s clear that the crew behind BR2 not only knows their sport like the back of their hand, but also has the capability to tell a compelling, immortal long-form story. The pieces are all there.
I can’t wait to see if they try it. If they do, it’ll be one of the best motorsports films of the past few decades. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.