Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Adrenaline Movie Poster Image
Paraplegic race driver implausibly finds religion.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 94 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

People should work to overcome hardship. Self-pity is unproductive.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Joseph overcomes damage to his legs after a street drag-racing accident. He returns to driving and moves on to legitimate racing. Joseph’s pre-accident life seems empty and narrowly focused on racing only. Religious viewers may applaud a nonbeliever who starts praying.


Joseph survives a devastating rollover racing accident.


Chrysler Hemi engines, Plymouth Barracudas, and Ford cars are prominently mentioned and displayed.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink beer.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Adrenaline is a 2015 faith-based racing movie. Viewers see a terrible car accident played partly in slow motion that cripples a young street drag racer. Illegal drag racing is featured. The injured driver does not believe in God but eventually starts praying, although no reason for his conversion is really shown. Characters drink beer, and several car brands are showcased throughout.

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What's the story?

In ADRENALINE a talented street racer (Michael Rosander) makes it into major institutional drag racing after a racing accident injures his legs badly. Unable to walk, alone and depressed, he sinks into self-pity. A combination of influences -- his older roommate, a sunny evangelical paraplegic named Elijah (Gregory Alan Williams), and his father’s supportive racing partner -- Paul (John Schneider), who's also named with reference to the Bible -- help him take on new racing challenges. Eventually Joseph also learns that there's more to life than racing. 

Is it any good?

There's no mention of religion until a good 20 minutes in, yet from the earliest moments the bland simple-mindedness of characters and plot hint at a trite tale of finding faith for no good reason. The first clue is that the hero, a drag-racing adrenaline freak, isn’t called Joe or Joey by his gearhead childhood pal but rather a more formal and Biblical "Joseph." The writers create no emotional arc for Joseph that can possibly explain why or how such a bitter nonbeliever -- who lost his father in a racing accident and then lost the use of his legs in his own accident -- makes the leap to faith. Undeveloped villains straight out of central casting team up with equally derivative mentors and advisors in this script pasted together from many better movies that have come before. The script brims with clichés, including "It's not what you drive, it's what drives you" and "You gotta get right or you're gonna get left."

Still, families looking for a faith-based racing movie for their kids might enjoy the story. For everyone else, there are much better films out there.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's religious themes. Do you think people can quickly go from not believing in God to believing? Why, or why not?

  • Why do you think people love to race cars? Why are car-racing movies so popular?

  • Does this movie seem realistic to you? Why, or why not? How does it compare with other racing movies?

  • Do you think nonbelievers can enjoy this movie as much as believers? Why, or why not?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love cars

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