Director: John Hough
Writer: Leigh Chapman and Antonio Santean; based on The Chase by Richard Unekis
Cinematography: Michael D. Margulies
Producer: Norman T. Herman
by Jon Cvack
Here's a decent Car Porn film, with a decent performance from Peter Fonda. It’s got some fun stuff, demonstrating how awesome practical car racing and destruction can be. While there are some awkward scenes scattered throughout, they were somewhat forgivable once the next action sequences started up.
The story is about two NASCAR drivers Larry Rayder (Peter Fonda) and Deke Sommers (Adam Roarke) after they steal $150,000 in cash from a supermarket, which was kind of shot like a knockoff Peckinpah. While escaping to their Impala, Rayder’s previous one night stand Mary Coombs (Susan George) is waiting for him, demanding she ride along. They’re pursued by the cops throughout the area, eventually switching cars to the cover’s neon green Charger, the whole time chased by the guy from the Nazi story from Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), police Captain Everett Franklin (Vic Morrow), who gives the film’s best performance.
The rest of the story is pretty much a bunch of car chases, as somehow they’re unable to find a highway or get out of the small town back roads, or ever have more than a single cop chase them. If I really squinted my eyes I could kind of strange existential nightmare in all of this per the likes Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), as though the whole thing is a dream on repeat, with these two men reflecting the summer of ‘68 freedom and rebellion end up (SPOILER) getting butchered by an oncoming train. I’d have to watch it again to try and piece this together, which I’m not in a rush to do. It’s clear that they’re trying to take cue from Easy Rider (1969), except arriving about six years too late, with the reference recreated too close to be considered cute.
Thinking of all of this I do go back to some of the saccharine scenes between the three characters, as Larry tells Mary about the open road or something, and Deke tries to pick a fight with him at the bar, and a few others that were so awkward that I squirmed in my seat, as though the studio note was, “Hey we can’t just have this be about nothing so can you have the girl and guy get into some fights or something?" Because many of these moments could have been cool if they were allowed just to be, without any of the drama. I should have written them down, but they were honestly so bad that I didn’t feel and don't’ feel it’s worth it to try and discover what they were. It’s worth checking out for the action, but beware these moments.
BELOW: Back when car chases were all practical
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