The Gumball Rally (7)
- Rides (8): Gumball pairs rides, drivers, and opponents like fine cuisine. And the dichotomies are key; sure a Ferrari gliding through the final corners of a circuit is a beautiful thing, but to have a Porsche rubbing against her at every turn is incomparable. Likewise, the film takes the best hardware 1976 had to offer and matches each machine to its archetypal driver (in much the same way we stereotype Jetta and Corvette owners). Sure, Franco deserved a more flamboyantly styled Ferrari, but the NY businessman has his Cobra, the ladies have their droptop 911, the old country club-ites have their classic Benz, the redneck has his Camaro, and the insane Hungarian has his Kawi racer. And the scenes do well to let each vehicle contrast the others. - CR
- Authenticity (7): Inspired by the first one lap race, the plot of the film isn't far from reality. I can't say much for the historical races, but the contemporary Gumball and Cannonball rallies are entertainment for wealthy motorsport enthusiasts and the occasional oddball. The movie takes some liberties with physics and law enforcement, but nothing as egregious as some of its peers. - CR
- Gals (6): By 70s standards this is by far too tame on the nudity. Compared to Death Race its sort of a junior high version of the cross-country debauchery we would have expected. The quality of the hardware is fair, but not remarkable in a Redline sort of way. In an either/or choice between good looking and undressed it scores ok on both, but it's not remarkable. A perfect ten in flesh would be the cast of Redline in the (lack of) costumes from DR2000. And something about a hairy Italian man making formula one engine noises with his lips against the subject seems to detract from said subject's overall appeal. - EA
- One Liners (9): '55 MPH: fast enough to kill you, slow enough to make you think you're safe.' 'The first rule of Italian driving; what's behind me is not important.' Extra points here because the line made it into everyday lexicon, at least among the reviewers. On Jags: 'It's an elegant design, I wish it would run.' - EA
- Action Sequences (8): Lots of it. Flames of fire, flying Hungarians, dying Jaguars. A good mix of real car stunts and mechanical carnage. I really would have liked to see more cop cars get destroyed. The film itself was practically all on-road action start to finish, without many side plots cutting into the driving time. I really expected more shenanigans and dirty tricks, but we have the Cannonball series to go still. - EA
- Star Power (7): Raul Julia and Gary Busey do the word 'eccentric' great justice with their portrayals of the stereotypical Italian and redneck racers. I'll give Gumball the benefit of the doubt and suppose a few of them were stars at the time. - CR
Movin' Too Fast (3)
- Rides (5): GM's F-body is dead and gone and resurrection seems to be put on indefinite hold - as the only working New Camaro prototype turned into a fighting monster and ran off (or so I'm told, I never saw the Transformers). But in the dusty expanses of Nevada desert, the ghost of Chevy's pony rides like Ichabod Crane. Rather than a headless horseman we have limo tint on every glass surface save the headlights, but the haunting anonymity is the same. In F-body terms the car is right-on, with ghost-flame paint, enormous cowl-induction, chrome wheels and cherry bomb exhaust. This is the ride every skoal-chewer is dreaming of creating from the rusting RS on cinder blocks next to his trailer. That is, as soon as that insurance settlement, unemployment check, and lotto scratcher arrive. Also-rans are a few Yamaha two strokes and a leased jag convertible, but nothing noteworthy from them. - EA
- Authenticity (5): Good and bad here. The desert 'froader party was pretty spot on, save the lack of bro-ho baby-mommas and illegitimate children running around. But in my experience the combination of beer, two-strokes and random things set afire seems reasonably accurate. Also true to life is the ability of the pretty and opinionated passenger to decide it is time to talk about her hurt feelings when the driver is desperately trying to get somewhere. The misconstruing of urgency as 'yelling at me' seems all too common. Plus points for the horror movie standard of sexual activity leading to dire consequences, or as Ash said 'That's what you get for being a slut!' Also amusing is the accuracy of the European not knowing how to hold a shotgun. On the minus - Chevy doesn't make a 440, Jaguars don't start reliably, it doesn't take three days to drive out of one corrupt jurisdiction. Oh and there are no random 'urban lifestyle' cafes in the empty expanses of New Mexico's desert highways. - EA
- Associates (3): High budget blockbuster films with female leads build their characters around that one girl you'll meet in your life that's climbed El Capitan and recorded a death metal album in the Marianas Trench. You know, the one real life girl that supplies credibility to all those stereotype-trashing female action stars that high budget blockbusters love so much. This movie has no such female characters, though it dares to feature an insane but calculating murderer. No, these heroines do their best to blend in to the stereotype and discuss feelings and friendship roles while a maniacal cop-killer is using his push bar to bleed their blinker fluid. They're cute, but nothing mindblowing. And despite all the tension and suggestion, it never happens. - CR
- One Liners (1): I'm sure there are a few to draw laughter, but nothing worth noting. - CR
- Action Sequences (5): Fingers ready? Seek button primed? At the edge of your seat? Good, I'm about to guide you to the most exciting sequence in the movie. Pick up the dvd case, look at the cover. Done. I won't say the movie is devoid of action, there is some chasery and shotgunnery. Something in the vein of horror movie malice combined with early Tarantino brutality (before he went way over the top). Apparently these girls don't find time in their busy law school [cough night school cough] schedules to take the XK8 to the track; you only see them moving too fast in a straight line. So aside from some bumpering and a single well executed but ho-hum crash, Movin' Too Fast is devoid of speed-related action (the title turns out to be a metaphor for sluttiness). - CR
- Star Power (1): You'll recognize the co-starring pair as Rape Victim #2 from Law and Order Episode 34 and Ward Nurse from General Hospital's 109th amnesia episode. But other than that it's a bunch of no-names. Oh, and psychic Miss Cleo plays a grumpy restauranteer. - EA
- Rides (5): The world of espionage is no place for a bright red F50. Real field ops use unbecoming saloons with very large engines. Or so Ronin would have us believe. The M5 and SEL featured in this one are certainly remarkable machines and they seem fit to carry mysterious suitcases and caches d'armes. The French cars used in the film are a bit less exciting, 3l fwd rides. Ronin most definitely succeeds as a speed night movie for its prodigious use of reckless driving, but the cars are - by necessity - fairly unremarkable. - CR
- Authenticity (9): 'I'll need a nitrous system, I have the specs here and some bigger injection jets, the Bosch wont do, these have to be custom, and two bottles'. Sounds like a recipe for a great weekend and an extremely void powertrain warranty. Since I have no experience in Europe or in international espionage, I will have to evaluate the movie based on its automotive content, which should be the determining factor anyway. When I first saw this movie it was in theaters and I was still green behind the wheel, and I don't mean I was driving a hybrid. This film was the first time I had seen a handbrake turn executed, and I immediately tested the authenticity of the maneuver in my parents' Civic. As it turns out, the film left out the part where the car ends up in the neighbor's flower bed, so minus points on the realism. Seeing the movie a decade later I had a little more ground to judge the credibility of the hooliganry and as it turns out, it's pretty well believable. The stunts looked/were real and the driving was skilled and well orchestrated, but did a good job of simulating heated shenanigans by semi-skilled drivers on crowded European streets. I thought all the 'bumpering' added to the credibility, like seeing the cars fishtail into surrounding traffic breaking taillights and corner lamps. The carspeak was right (it is a good idea to put in a larger injector when running a sizeable nitrous system, the Bosch just won't do). One could argue that the chases were too even for the automotive mismatches (M5 has trouble pulling a Peugeot?), but factor in traffic and driver skill and familiarity with the terrain and its not so unbelievable. The only area I can dock is that the crash pyrotechnics looked too much like fireworks and too little like the sparks from metal/asphalt abrasion. It was the same roman candle sparklers that produced the incendiaries when the UltraMegaZord decked Rita's Dragonbot with the Sword of Absurdium in season 1 of Power Rangers. Voltron Ripoff. What I found incredible at 16 I have deemed credible at 26. - EA
- Femmes (1): No umbrella girls in this one. Deirdre is hot, but fully clothed, the whole damn movie. The second and final female character, is fit, wears skin-tight clothing, and has celebrity status: Natacha Kirilova. Still, she's introduced, does a lil frollicking, and is summarily shot dead. I am thankful they didn't crud up the movie with too much of a love story, but for a category entitled flesh, it doesn't deserve a whole point. - JR
- One Liners (5): Does 'They're in Nice; the package is in Nice' qualify as a one liner? With the deep Irish accent, it is the catchiest. Despite the ridiculous redundancy of Sam's lines, they aren't all that memorable. 'What color was that boathouse at Hereford', 'That's lesson number two', 'We went to high school together', 'You bolloxed it up'. It's got good lines, just pales in comparison to 'I live my life a quarter mile at a time'. - JR
- Action Sequences (10): Am I allowed to give a ten? Yeah, any movie that can outperform this one deserves the eleven. The use of action is brilliantly excecuted, each scene carries the movie's momentum so you don't grow weary from rising and falling tension. The sequences themselves are pure eye candy laced with adrenaline and set against some gorgeous backdrops. - CR
- Star Power (8): DeNiro is, well, DeNiro. And he does that well. The honor-among-theives pairing of DeNiro and the professional has a good dynamic as they both identify the other as honorable contenders in a world of fakes and snakes. The score could have neared 10 if we brought in Bono to play the Irish terrorist and Harrison Ford to Cameo as Sam's CIA contact ('where's the post office?'). - EA
Death Race 2000 (4)
2 Fast 2 Furious
- Rides (5): All five points here are for the creative fiberglass work. The cars themselves could be any chassis, but the strange, amusement park style shells on them laid the groundwork for monster truck styling for decades to come. If you like Adam West's batmobile. I eagerly await Speed Racer to see if 35 years of special effects progress gives us crappy cg versions of one-off, non-stock concept cars or if we just get another round of composite shells stuck on junkyard frames. - EA
- Authenticity (1): As the milennium approaches, the likelihood of a postapocalypse in 2000 seems less and less guaranteed. But when the the minute-hand strikes that magical twelve and all five IBM mainframes on earth simultaneously shut down, the Soviets launch a pre-emptive strike, our five moon bases lose contact with Earth, and Mulder and Scully kiss, will the idiocratic masses be appeased only by Mr. President's transcontinental rally of doom? Will our images of Vietnam and senselessly violent postapocalyptic movies have desensitized us to the point of wheeling the elderly into the street to be mowed down like so many helpless rodents? Will our society reach a level of open-mindedness and tolerence where race teams identified by heinous stereotypes will be free to compete without fear of recourse? Yes, the answer is yes. A chillingly accurate portent of the years that once were to have come. Two points for using cars that, by all appearances, run on gasoline rather than synthesized noise. I'll abstain from rating the physics and mechanics as I am unfamiliar with year 2000 technology and the complex gravity created by a planet made fragmented by nuclear war. - CR
- Females (9): The best part about watching a movie from the 70s is that when the hot female lead is introduced, you know your chances of seeing full frontal from her are roughly equal to your chances of getting sick from an all-you-can-eat sushi bar in Tijuana. Luckily this was a product of Hollywood, because in a foreign film from the same era your chances of seeing the male lead in the same state of undress are just as high. In the interests of thoroughness the movie fails to leave a single nipple unexposed and is pretty unabashed about cramming a good deal of them into an otherwise bleak and empty film. By contemporary standards, the quality of the meat isn't exactly prime, but there are points scored for quantity over quality. In keeping with the meat analogy, this is sort of the 'if you can finish it, it's free' kind of steak. Sure you get 72 ounces of nudity rather than an 8 ounce filet mignon that you are only allowed to lick once or twice (Redline). - EA
- One Liners (4): There were several laughable retorts shot around, but honestly, nothing memorable. Maybe I missed a good exchange during the portions I slept through [Ed: -A gernade? -A hand gernade.], but that says enough on its own. - EA
- Action Sequences (2): How exciting is it to race fiberglass tubs down 66? How scary is a divebombing Cessna? How heartwrenching is a presidental assassination plot horrifically executed in front of tens of people? Yeah, anything that might have generated excitement is lost in the lack of budget and availability of decent stunts. E had two good reasons to fall asleep: narcolepsy and the movie. - CR
- Star Power (3): David Carradine is cool but doesn't have much to work with. It's pretty awesome to see a young Sylvester Stallone playing a shameless Italian stereotype. But that's it. - CR
- Rides (5): This movie cannot be seen without the special feature that depicts our hero's journey from LA to Florida as a series of drag races. Yeah, it's cause he's doing it with a vr4 - well I'm sure his is a gto mr. As far as cars go, this movie is kind of a disappointment for the series. The first one highlighted an rx7 and tt supra, now we have an evo and a eclipse. Bleh. Sure the camaro and the challenger are fun, but nothing to write home about. I'm sure there's some car pr0n to be had with prodigious use of the pause button, but that would seriously interrupt the 2 Fast 2 Furious experience.
- Authenticity (1): Well, the movie begins with a mostly-cg race that climaxes with two racers jumping a drawbridge after the other two crashed. Uh, then the Florida state troopers shoot a large capacitor at Paul Walker's car in order to disable it. That's because hitting the fender near the tires with a n-thousand volt power source is much easier and less lethal than a slug to the tire. Then the plot starts... - CR
- Hoez (4): Eva Mendes looks good, Devon Aoki is okay. There's plenty of Miami-requisite skin, but only fleeting. More could have been done here.
- One Liners (6): The dialogue is not as expository of the underground racing scene as the first, and lacks improperly applied gearhead-speak and automotivication (opposite of personification, rather than referring to cars as if they were alive eg 'The motor's gotten used to hard driving', the people are referred to as if they were vehicles 'he's got unleaded in his veins') of the characters. Still, when a script is written by a room full of eighth graders serving detention, there is the usual amount of misapplied and poorly delivered youth-slang. The pinnacle comes when P-dubya warns his prison buddy of his next backdoor maneuvering with the declaration 'I got something for your ass!'
- Action Sequences (6): Points for quantity, as there was action a'plenty. Mostly just in-traffic weaving shenanigans on those southern highways and some all-too-long drag races. The interspliced cg stood out the way a live-action character does in a late George Lucas film. The races were entertaining, but not groundbreaking in any sense. And there was promise of a turbo-charged prelude, but I never saw one.
- Star Power (8): Like truckers at Al Gore's gas station, we were all left asking 'where's Diesel?'. Palk returns, Tyrece tries to fill in for the lack in man-meat, and the most points come from Ludacris playing not just a cameo part, but a supporting role as a retired street-racer turned promoter/bookie.
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (5)
- Rides (7): The FnF series has bounced around with plots, remaking Point Break for the first one, doing Miami Vice in the second, Cool Runnings for the third, apparently Miami Vice again for the fourth... But if there's one formula that could describe them all and that's parade a grotesque array of offensively festooned imports in front of the viewer and then throw in a few pony cars to prove they're hetero. There must have been some serious 'oh noes'es when the producers realized drift cars had to be rear wheel drive. 350z to the rescue! 1990s to the rescue! It's kind of nice to be spared the chaff (Civics, Preludes, Integras) and see some decent Japanese machinery, not all of which was readily available at your local Nissan dealer. Some of the mods were a little backwards - rwd Lancer, rb26 in the Mustang - but E for effort. And Han's fd is the best looking car in the series, a find blend of creativity and taste. - CR
- Authenticity (4): Is there any dispute that can't be settled by a race? Mountain drifting is a win-win-win solution, as it's more cost effective than homicide, gets the whole town involved in your shady yakuza business, and really portrays you as a tough gangster that's not to be crossed. Oh and Americans have trouble adjusting to Japanese culture, Bill Murray taught me that. - CR
- Sailor Moons (8): Another composite score. If your fever is of the yellow variety, this film is a twelve out of ten. If you enjoy some other persuasion, or were hoping for a Vin Diesel style hulk, you came up short at a four. Lots of candy in just one flavor. Oh, and a great big sumo guy in a tiny towel for those who rank quantity way above quality in the meat market. - EA
- One Liners (5): There's an old saying, for want of a writer, the script was lost. For want of a script, the movie was lost. For want of a movie, the series was lost. For want... oh they made another? Nevermind. Good work, writer of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. There are a few nuggets here regarding the unabbreviated version of the title 'D.K.', only racing for pinks, and Han's endless well of prophetic maxims. But the third installment is the weakest of a series that's pretty good at producing cult quotes. - CR
- Action Sequences (7): The intro race easily breaches past the 9.0 mark, but it's a downhill slide [ed: pun probably intended] from there. A good old fashioned FF drag race for money? No. Pinks? No. Honor? Hardly. The FF world knows only one prize worth risking life, limb, and connecting rod for. And that is underage prom queen panty rights. The race is classic; we love the hero, hate the villain, and root for home-built muscle over store-bought flash. After the requisite amount of dirty tricks and broken down construction barriers the race climaxes in one of - if not the best - crash scene in the the trilogy. From there on it's a steady slide into underwhelming cg FF fare. There are still enjoyable moments; the hero's first attempt at drifting and subsequent training montage, Han's display of the 'real' reason for drifting, and the exploitation of the firmware gap between the police and Japan's aftermarket tuners. The later street races are all standard FF shenanigans that don't lend anything new to the series, and the final downhill drift race has nothing on Initial D. It's a nine that quickly slips to a five (had a date like that a while ago), so we can agree on a mean seven. - EA
- Star Power (3): Bow Wow is a major character. Tim The Tool Man Taylor's son as a minor character. Ugh, all three points go to Vin Diesel for his unnecessary but very appreciated cameo. - CR