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Fast & Furious 6: the VaRaces verdict

  • Category: Movies
  • Created on Sunday, 02 June 2013 23:39
  • Written by Martin Bigg

fast-and-furious-6-wallpaper-hd

Warning: the road ahead contains spoilers

Going into Fast & Furious 6 must have been daunting for director Justin Lin. After all, how do you top the spectacle of the destructive, physics-defying bank vault towing chase that concluded Fast Five? Answer: add a custom-built vehicle capable of flipping cars, a car crushing tank and a fiery finale featuring a fleet of cars bringing down a cargo plane.

Indeed, Fast Six cranks up the carnage to all new levels, and while the action somehow manages to be even more absurd than ever before, it’s certainly a statement of intent on Lin’s part.

This is a series that has strayed far from its roots, from a tale centred on the seedy underground street racing scene to the bombastic auto-action fest it is today. It’s a transformation that seems to be boding well with audiences, however. Many thought the series was close to being written-off following the lacklustre Box Office performances of 2Fast 2 Furious and Tokyo Drift, but Lin successfully managed to reinvigorate the series with the reintroduction of Vin Diesel and a more action-orientated focus, which took it down a new road to success.

Fast Five’s gargantuan success was highly unprecedented garnering over $625 million worldwide, and Fast Six looks as if it will be another success story for Universal. It’s already broken new records for the franchise, taking £9 million in its opening weekend in the UK alone. Clearly, this is a series that shows no signs of slowing down – how often can you say that about a film that has reached its sixth instalment?

And yet Fast Six is arguably the most cohesive entry in the series to date, with a plot that manages to tie up all the loose ends of several character threads – even if all the fluff is really a distraction to pad out the relentless pace between the action sequences.  

Fast & Furious 6 picks up immediately after the events of Fast Five, with the crew of crooks laying low in various corners of the globe living it large after gaining their fortunes from the Rio heist. Of course, this doesn’t last and they’re soon reunited to take on another job, this time to thwart the plans of criminal Owen Shaw, a former spec ops soldier wanted by Dwayne Johnson’s hunky FBI agent Hobbs. With the promise of freedom, Hobbs recruits the team to utilise their skills behind the wheel to take down Shaw.

This leads to the revelation that Dom’s former flame Letty actually didn’t perish in Fast & Furious, and is in fact working as Shaw’s leading lady. The problem, though, is there are too many characters to follow at this stage.

Fast Six repeatedly tries to enforce the idea that the team is a close-knit family, but the characters are all so two dimensional it’s difficult to really care about them, and attempts to inject emotion between Dom and Letty and comic relief banter between the team largely fall flat. I appreciate that the writers are at least trying to add some depth to the characters, and Fast Six does a serviceable job of knitting together all previous instalments of the franchise into the overblown saga it’s become, but it feels a tad too forced and pretentious – it may now be a six part saga (with yet more on the way), but this isn’t Star Wars.

Of course, the real reason why we all enjoy these films is that they are simple popcorn guilty pleasures, and the dumb dialogue that perpetuates the filler scenes will have you craving for the next action sequence to hurry along. Fortunately, Fast Six doesn’t disappoint in this regard.  

Fast Six opens Quantum of Solace-style, with a short but sweet friendly duel between Dom and Brian down a mountain pass. As ever, the cars casted for the pair perfectly represent their alter egos – Brian sticks with a Skyline, in this case its modern-day GTR equivalent, whereas Dom’s penchant for US muscle dictates that he once again drives a Dodge, with the Challenger SRT-8 seen at the end of Fast Five replacing his traditional 1970 Charger.  

This opening scene was merely a warm up lap, however, and before long we’re treated to a montage containing snippets from every instalment (with the exception of Tokyo Drift) of the franchise telling the story so far.

Whereas Fast Five crammed the majority of its destruction (and presumably its budget) into the extended final sequence in which two Chargers caused untold damage to the city of Rio de Janeiro, Fast Six applies this level of ambition and destructive magnitude to each of its automotive action set-pieces throughout the film.

This is most evident in the film’s first extended action sequence set in London (or at least that’s what they would have you believe – it was actually filmed in Glasgow), which serves as an introduction to Shaw’s ferocious Flip Car.

The custom-built machine was principally designed for one purpose: causing carnage. Indeed, the clue is in its name as its angled nose effortlessly sends cars that dare to cross its path flipping into the air, making for some spectacular stunts.

It has immense racing pedigree, too, modelled after a formula one car with a similarly savage, whining engine when it whizzes past. Shaw is said to be a former motorsport champion, and his craftsmanship is a reflection of that.

In essence, the Flip Car is a souped up version of the Slicer seen in Gone in 60 Seconds 2, which was sadly never released due to Halicki’s untimely fatality. It’s a shame this fact will probably go unnoticed by the majority of people that watch Fast Six, but at least we can safely say that Halicki did it first. Dig out the DVD release of the unfinished Gone in 60 Seconds 2 if you need proof.

The Flip Car was made into a real working car on set, too, sporting a 500bhp engine and rear wheel steering, allowing the stunt team to carry out the stunts using the Flip Car as a moving ramp just as you see in the film.

Following a botched police stakeout, the gang chase after Shaw’s Flip Car and his female accomplice who flees in a Range Rover. This being set in England, the police are rather unevenly matched in their Astra Bobbys, which get trashed as soon as they attempt to apprehend Shaw. Multiple cars get sent soaring through the air as soon as they come into contact with the Flip Car, resulting in some spectacular high speed rollovers and police pile-ups. It’s wonderful to watch, but the action is sadly cut too quickly to fully appreciate the delicious devastation.    

With the police now taken care of, it becomes clear that Dom and co underestimated the threat they are up against, which becomes apparent as Shaw takes them out one by one by sabotaging their car computer mechanics using attaching chips.

Sadly, this means a bevy of beautiful BMW M5s meet their makers. Sixteen BMs were reportedly used during shooting - the majority were totalled.

One ends up demolishing a row of parked cars Crank-style, another is sent tumbling through a conveniently disused car showroom and the remaining BM is sent flipping onto its roof during a final showdown with the Flip Car in a tunnel. Thankfully, at least one is spared as Dom becomes distracted by the appearance of Letty, who subsequently shoots him on sight. I’m ashamed to openly admit that I let out a cheer during this scene as the indestructible Diesel was left whimpering from his gunshot wound.

All-in-all, a slickly-executed chase showing that Lin hasn’t lost his appetite for destruction. It could have easily been the climactic action scene of another film, and yet it appears less than a third of the way through Fast Six.  

Of course, being a Fast and Furious film there had to be an obligatory racing scene somewhere.  And sure enough, Fast Six retains the tradition with a night time street race set in the heart of London, complete with a curious cameo from Rika Ora. It marks the first time Dom’s newly-acquired Dodge Charger Daytona gets a workout against Letty in the Jensen Interceptor seen in the previous chase.

It’s an all-too-brief sequence, though, that doesn’t reach the same heights as the memorable races seen in previous Fast & Furious films, instead serving as a plot device to allow Dom to interrogate, and ultimately win back, Letty.

There’s still a few instances of daring driving on display, however, as the two cars weave through traffic, drift around corners and perform gratuitous reverse 180s, but it ends before it really begun. In a nice nod to Fast Five, we also see another shot of the chase from a child’s perspective on a bus – this was in fact Justin Lin’s son in Fast Five, so we can only presume the tyke was given another cameo in Fast Six.  

It also feels like an elaborate tour of London’s landmarks, with numerous panning shots highlighting the nation’s capital – a notable rarity given that Fast Six is one out of just three films that were permitted to film in Piccadilly Circus. Indeed, I’ve always felt that car chases set in the UK are all-too rare, but they suddenly seem to be on the increase. Last year’s film adaptation of The Sweneey was set in London and featured a chase filmed in collaboration with Top Gear, and Red 2 due out this Summer looks to feature some Britain-based car action.

From here, the film picks up the pace and it’s not long before we’re treated to the standout sequence when Shaw steals a tank and proceeds to go on a rampage on a Spanish highway.

Here we get to see the gang’s star cars in action together for the first time. Dom reuses his Charger Daytona (actually a custom-made replica – a real Daytona would have been too expensive, not to mention unsuitable for stuntwork), alongside Brian’s legendary rally-spec Ford Escort RS1600 MKII (five UK models were bought and rebuilt for the film) and Roman’s Ford Mustang Boss 500.

CGI was considered for the scene in which the tank crushes civilian cars, but Lin wisely overruled in order to make the stunts seem as authentic as possible. Over 100 cars were reportedly used, and the scene is brutal when you stop to think how many civilian casualties would have been left in its wake. Granted, we’ve seen civilian crashes in the series numerous times before, but there’s no doubting there would have been fatalities. In order to not appear too morbid, we do at least get to see some civilians abandon their cars just before they get crushed, though.

To try and stop the ensuing carnage, Roman darts in front to protect others, only to become stuck to the front of the tank. Cue the heroic Brian Connor who performs a preposterous jump across the highway to come to his aid. This stunt didn’t go too well first time round, as the flying Ford landed on its nose and cartwheeled down the highway, writing it off instantly. The second take was more successful and was used in the final shot, but the hard landing severely bent the chassis. Meanwhile, the poor Mustang inevitably gets pancaked by the tank just as Roman makes a death-defying leap onto the moving Escort. All in the order of the day.  

And if you thought that was OTT, nothing compares to the finale in what can only be described as Fast & Furious meets Superman. With the Mustang now being towed by the tank and acting as an anchor wedged between the bridge, the tank suddenly flips over, catapulting a hapless Letty who was trying to detach the Mustang. Meanwhile, Superman Dom ejects himself out of the Daytona, catching Letty just in the nick of time before landing on a conveniently parked car without a scratch. All that was missing was a superhero cape.  

But just as I had taken my palm away from my face in disbelief, we reach the final extended action scene which takes place on the world’s longest runway. With the villains making a quick getaway on a cargo plane, the team assembles an ambush in a fleet of contemporary Dodge Chargers before boarding the plane to engage in fisticuffs.

Indeed, the majority of the scene focuses on the ensuing punch-ups aboard the plane, although a few crashes occur in the midst of the brawling including a rolling Range Rover and the return of the Flip Car which sends an Alfa Giulietta skyward. Defying the laws of physics, each car becomes attached to the plane via impossibly strong grappling hooks in order to tether it down, before sending it crash landing and erupting into a massive fireball as it tries to take-off. Yeah, you have to suspend your disbelief just a tad, in case you were wondering.

But wait, Dom was still on board! Surely he won’t be able to make it? Oh wait, there he is casually ploughing through the engine just as it explodes, sending the car into a glorious high speed rollover. But this is the Man of Steele remember, so of course he survives completely unscathed.  

   

As spectacular and entertaining as the non-stop action is, moments like these are too far-fetched. Indeed, you get the feeling that Lin was perhaps trying too hard to outdo himself when directing the action sequences following the unprecedented success of Fast Five. Fast Five pushed the envelope of plausibility pretty far, but Fast Six completely shatters it. As a result, the spectacle of the stunts overshadow any possible substance gained from pure driving skill – a balance that Lin arguably achieved better in scenes such as the racing sequences found in Tokyo Drift and Fast and Furious.

Lin therefore made the right decision to call it quits and end on a high when Fast 7 was inevitably announced. Saw director James Wan will take over, paving a potentially darker new road for the franchise to take.

A surprise post credit sets the scene for the sequel, revealing the new villain played by none other than Jason Statham. It also becomes abundantly clear why Tokyo Drift was omitted from the aforementioned film highlights reel.

We finally get confirmation that Tokyo Drift is set directly after the events of the last three films in the saga, which makes sense given that Han died in Tokyo Drift after being hit by a Mercedes. As the scene reveals, the fatal crash was no accident however – the Mercedes that smacks into Han was driven by Jason Statham’s character who turns out to be Shaw’s brother. Fast Seven will therefore revolve around him seeking revenge on Dom following the events of Fast Six, which hopefully indicates that Fast Seven will adopt a grittier, darker tone.  

So, to sum up Fast Six: audacious, spectacular and so, so silly. A sure-fire contender for this year’s best chase, then. But you knew that already, right? Whether Fast Six’s crash count tops A Good Day to Die Hard is another matter, however…

Matrix Reloaded

  • Category: Movies
  • Created on Wednesday, 30 August 2006 11:32
  • Written by Super User

The Matrix Reloaded has what is easily the best film car chase of the year, and arguably one of the best of the past several years. It manages to be a near perfect blend of the best of the old and the new. Real cars flipping skyward are reminiscent of the signature stunts of the late 70's and flawless computer generated crashes brought to light how technology can enhance a chase scene.

To be honest, in the category of pure driving, there are a lot of films that do a better job of showcasing how to handle a car. Greats like Bullitt, Ronin, and even Army of One have more skillful driving. But where Matrix Reloaded comes up short in the driving department, it delivers in spades in every other area. The chase builds and changes pace with such intensity that at the halfway point, you can't imagine it getting much better. But it does. The chase starts on the street with a Cadillac Excalade EXT chasing a Caddy CTS. The CTS holds the heroes, Trinity and Morpheus, while the EXT is filled with the 'Twins', a pair of pale, ghost like creatures that can move through solid objects at will. The scene quickly moves to the freeway and once it does, it's all about speed and destruction. Innocent drivers that get in the way of the dueling luxo-cruisers usually end up in a crumpled heap in the middle of the road. One even does a beautiful 360 degree corkscrew in the air before slamming back into the pavement. And during all this, guns are blazing almost nonstop. And when you think it can't get much better, another group enters the chase. The Matrix employs 'agents', nearly unstoppable men than can kick ass like nobody's business. So now you have two Caddy's and assorted Chevy Impala cop cars all hurtling down the highway doing their best to beat the snot out of each other. All the GM product placement was going a little overboard, especially once you notice that most of the bystander vehicles were Oldsmobiles.

And before you can settle down, Trinity jumps on a motorcycle and the chase continues , but now it's against the flow of traffic. The camera seems to struggle to keep pace with the bike, at times even going under vehicles to catch up with the action. When the chase scene is over, you feel as if you've just gone on a thrill ride. It's the type of excitement that doesn't happen often enough in recent movies.

To say a lot of work was put into the chase scene would be an understatement. A 6 lane 1.4 mile stretch of highway, complete with overpasses and a 19foot high wall, was built to use as a stage for many of the shots. The cost of the highway alone was nearly 30 million dollars. Over a dozen Cadillac's were specially outfitted for filming, and then systematically destroyed during their scenes. Even though the Matrix is expected to employ a lot of computer effects, the filmmakers realized that sometimes nothing beats a real driver behind the wheel of a real car. And when computers were brought in, the CGI effects mixed in flawlessly and never became obtrusive or obvious.

There are a lot of big car chase films hitting theatres this summer, including Bad Boys 2 and most notably, a remake of the legendary chase film, The Italian Job. That being said, The Matrix Reloaded has raised the bar this year and it'll take a lot for another film to overtake it.


The Cadillac CTS, semmingly the preferred choice of transportation in the Matrix Reloaded.

The temporary highway that became a 30 million dollar bumper car track

That's gonna leave a mark.

Looking good and going fast.
 

Gone vs Gone

  • Category: Movies
  • Created on Wednesday, 30 August 2006 11:27
  • Written by Super User
Gone in 60 Seconds 1974
vs
Gone in 60 Seconds 2000

Gone in 60 Seconds was released in 1974 and is known for having one of the longest chase scenes in movie history (40 minutes). 93 cars were destroyed on screen during that chase. The movie was the work of H.B. Halicki who bankrolled, wrote, directed, and starred in it. Although the movie has it's flaws, it has become a cult classic over the years.

In 2000, the Gone in 60 Seconds was remade with a new cast, new story, and new cars. The new film was produced by Jerry Bruckhiemer, directed by Dominic Sena, and starred Nick Cage. It was a blockbuster when it was released, raking in over $100 million in the US.

Here is a comparision between the two films. It should be noted that although both films share the same underlying plot, they are two very different movies.
Eleanor
1974 :1973 Mustang Mach 1
2000 :1967 Shelbly GT500

Both films revolved around one car that could not be stolen, Eleanor. In the original, Eleanor was a very common yellow Mustang. They were everywhere but for some reason, everytime Hadrian tried to steal it, something happened to stop him. In the remake, the Eleanor was a very rare Shelby GT500. The 'unstealable' common car wasn't so common anymore.

The Job
1974 :Steal 40 Cars
2000 :Steal 50 Cars

The tasks in both movies are nearly the same, but the motivations are different. Pace simply wants to steal the cars for the money, but Raines needs to steal the cars to save his younger brother from a gangster. It's hard to overlook that Hadrian is a criminal when he's running from the cops. But since Raines is forced into the job, it's easier to root for him. The $200,000 payment is the same for both movies, but it seems a little low for the number of exotics stolen in the remake. The price averages out to $4000 per car and a lot of the cars stolen are worth over $100,000.

Supporting Cast

The group stealing cars in the 2000 remake are a more well defined bunch than in the original. The 1974 characters had little background if any, and the dialogue was so 'to the point' that no one showed much of a personality. In the remake, most of the characters had a bit of a backstory and there was more humor to keep things going.

The Work

Since the remake spent more time developing characters, it gave less time to the actual car thefts. Even though most of the jobs needed some sort of gadget or trick to steal the car, it seemed too easy with no real risk involved. The car thefts in the original happened mostly during the day with a lot of people around. They seemed more daring and exciting than the nighttime boosts featured in the 2000 film.

SubPlots

The remake had a lot of stuff going on other than stealing cars. Randall reunites with his old flame, patches up the relationship with his brother, toys with a cop who has been after him for years, has to deal with a rival car theft ring, and goes against a small time gangster. The movie doesnt have time to cram all of these stories into 2 hours so none of them seem complete. The original had only 1 plotline, stealing cars.

Cars

This is a push. While the original's cars were less exotic, it was fun seeing older cars onscreen. Huge Caddy's, Rolls Royces, Limos, Stutz's... some of these cars you don't even see in photo's anymore. The remake upped the ante by showing Ferraris, Mercedes, Lamborghinis and other exotics. But these cars are so well known and have been seen so often that it's not enough to just see them pull out of driveways.

Mini Chases

The original had a couple of small chases scattered through the film. The tow truck scene was great and is good enough by itself to be the climax of most films. But one chase was filmed at night and you can only see headlights bouncing down the street. The remake starts off with a small chase thats more of a non-event than anything else and the mini chase in the middle of the film barely registered as a chase at all.

The Big Chase

This is where both movies pick up. The chase has different meanings to both films. The original is basically just a long setup for the ending chase. In the remake, it just feels like another action sequence and isnt even the climax of the film. The original chase lasts 40 minutes and is filled with near captures, close calls, crashes, and inventive driving. The remake is about ten minutes(still a long chase scene by any standard) and looks too slick and choreographed to be very exciting.

The Jump

This is where the remake doesnt hold a candle to the original. The 1974 showed the final jump from multiple angles and in slow motion. It's so detailed that you can see the frame of the car buckle during the landing. The way the jump is filmed gives it an importance and impact that adds a lot to the stunt. It looks better each time you watch it. The opposite is true for the remake. The jump looks like its spliced together from 4 or 5 shots and even most those are CGI. Computer generated effects have their place in films, but this wasn't one of them. It gives the stunt a fake look and seems like it was put in just to use up a mandatory cgi budget.

When it comes down to it, the Original Gone in 60 Seconds outshines the 2000 remake. Eventhough it has lower production values and sub-par acting, the original stays focused on being a car chase film. The remake tries to do a lot but it never follows through. The emotional udercurrents are barely realized and it really falls short in the action department. Instead of raising the bar on the stunt sequences the remake plays it safe.

 

Gone in Sixty Seconds 2

  • Category: Movies
  • Created on Monday, 30 October 2006 11:25
  • Written by Super User

Gone in 60 Seconds: 2 began it's life as a sequel to the 1973 lassic by H.B. Halicki. During filming, Halicki was killed during a freak accident on set and the movie was never completed. Halicki always filed the stunts and chases of a film first before shooting the 'quieter' pages of the movie. This means that most of the chase scenes for Gone:2 were completed before his untimely death. His wife, Denise Halicki, had the footage remastered and edited into a close approximation of what seems to have been the second half of the movie. This DVD contains the completed parts of the movie, mainly the final chase scene featuring a car named 'The Slicer', a vehicle specially built for the movie. The DVD also contains the full-length feature, Deadline Auto Theft and a documentary about the life of H.B. Halicki. Although it's obvious that the biggest draw is to see what Halicki had planned for the sequel to Gone in 60 Seconds, the real meat of the disc is the documentary . Produced for Speedvision in 2000, it chronicles the life of H.B. Halicki from his first job selling cars, his self made fortune, his film career, and even his huge toy collection. You get a real sense of the drive that he had to live the life he dreamed for himself.

Gone In 60 Seconds:2
The chase scene that makes up Gone:2 is destructive to a fault. What made the original so great was that it had a 'regular' car with an exceptional driver behind the wheel evading and outwitting his pursuers. But this chase starts with an 18-wheeler that is pretty much indestructible. It literally plows through dozens and dozens of cars. It's clear that the main idea behind the film was to crash as many cars as possible. But the destruction just seems like crashing for the sake of crashing. The truck does it's best to hit every car on the street, and the cops chasing it have a habit of smashing into each other for no reason . And when the chase moves to the Slicer, it's just more of the same. There's no doubt that the Slicer is a great vehicle and it crashes and flips cop cars like nobody's business, but around the 30th time, you get the point and you're ready to move on. But the scene doesnt and boredom starts to creep in. Unlike the original (or even the remake) the chase doesn't have a 'story' of its own. There's no close calls, clever escapes, or exceptional driving. It's just crash after crash after crash. It seems that in an effort to preserve as much of the movie as possible, every single piece of film that had a collision on it was included. I'd like to think that had he had lived, Halicki would have pared down the footage to create more diverse scene.

Deadline Auto Theft
The addition of Deadline Auto Theft on the DVD is nice for completists but some fans may be a little surprised by what they get. Deadline Auto Theft is the exact same film as the original Gone In 60 Seconds recut to include a new opening chase, Hoyt Axton as a detective on the trail of the thief, and some creative editing to tighten up the plot of Gone. It's a like a half hearted director's cut that doesn't stand up to the original. It's as if someone re cut Scarface and only left in the violent parts and tagged a different beginning and ending. There's just no reason to it. And that's how DAT felt when I watched it.


The Life and Times of H.B. Toby Halicki
As I mentioned before, the real gem on the DVD is the Speedvision documentary. It's very well done and it's worth the price of the disc alone. Interviews with friends, family and fans as well as behind the scenes footage all paint a picture of a man who bucks the system and did whatever it took to get his films made. The DVD's special features are excellent. There's a feature that lets you watch both films with a running 'crash' count at the bottom of the screen. There are also featurettes detailing the remastering process and what it took to get both films looking and sounding as good as they do. The video and audio quality of the DVD is superb. Somehow they managed to get 20+ year old footage looking a crisp and sharp as if it were filmed yesterday.

Gone In 60 Seconds:2 may not be the greatest car chase flick ever, but the documentary gives you a deep insight into the man that did make the greatest chase flick ever, and that makes this DVD a must have.

 

 

The Cannonball Run

  • Category: Movies
  • Created on Thursday, 03 August 2006 11:04
  • Written by Super User

The long distance race has been a longtime standard in the car movie genre. These types of movies follow a simple formula. They have a diverse group of people driving an even more diverse group of vehicles. Plus, there's usually an obsessed law enforcement officer or government official who is out to stop the race at all costs. Speed Zone, Gumball Rally, and Death Race 2000 are all good examples of the formula. But the pinnacle of the cross country race movie is The Cannonball Run.



The Cannonball Run is loosely based on the actual, illegal cross country race that was run a few times in the late seventies.A bunch of guys/girls got together to see who could get from one coast to the other in the shortest amount of time. The race involved everything from an Hot Rod Ambulance to Ferraris to Muscle Cars.





The film adaptation of the Cannonball Run contained what has become the standard cliche group of drivers.

  • You have the bored millionaire who is in the race just for fun.
  • The burnout ex-racecar/stunt driver who is out to prove he still has 'it'.
  • Comic Relief.
  • The down on his luck gambler that needs the money to get out of debt.
  • And there always happens to be a team of two beautiful women in a sports car who use their sex appeal to evade speeding tickets.



    That takes care of the drivers. Now we get to the important part, the cars. These movies all have a wide range of car types, so no matter what your tastes, there'll be something for you here.
  • A European Exotic is a must, preferably Italian(Ferrari, or Lamborghini)
  • The American muscle car has to make an appearance.
  • We can't leave out the TRUCK. Thats in all caps because the TRUCK is usually so big that it can barely fit on the highway.
  • A goofy/gimmick car filled with secret weapons. smoke screens, missiles, etc. is usually on hand. But the gimmicks usually backfire, putting the car out of the race.
  • And last, but not least, the fake police/emergency car.



    The Cannonball Run fits all of these criteria. The movie is so cliched that it somehow morphs into a great film. Unlike misfires like Speed Zone and Cannonball Run 2, the original Cannonball hit all the right notes. Burt Reynolds and Don DeLouise are funny and have great chemistry. Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. almost steal the show. And even Terry Bradshaw gets a few laughs in. On top of that, the cars are fantastic. The legendary Lamborghini Countach is shown at speed. A Ferrari 308 (red of course) makes it's presence felt. And the dual gas tank Ambulance is a stroke of genius.  

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