So FOX has stood up and said recently “hey, maybe we should get a few other shows than just the Simpsons and Family Guy to carry us to the bank.” One of these new shows goes by the title of “Drive”. The show is about a group of people that for one reason or another are all competing in a cross country road race with some bonus for the winner.
Now just like every other show on FOX, I planned to ignore this shit fest all together, because lets face it, in all of FOX’s program the only worthwhile shows they ever had were animated, involved puppets or starred Ed O’Neil. A few nights ago however as I was flipping through the channels I came through the TV guide channel which is my own fifth circle of hell to begin with, and I saw that they were masturbating this show onto the American public. Some air headed bitch was going on and on about how exciting and original the show was going to be, and how creative the writers were.
I took major issue with this because this is at best…AT BEST, the seventh incarnation of this idea. So after sticking a sharpened steak knife in my ear and twisting, I decided to open up my movie archives and dig out and watch the six movies that are being ripped off so that FOX can shit its pants again.
First of all we have to start off with the Kung-Fu car king David Carradine. Davey starred in to classic trans American race movies in 1976 one called Cannonball and the other being not only the supreme cross country road rally movie, but theatrical masterpiece… Death Race 2000.
Cannonball: This film is the first of a few based on the illegal road race known as The Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash which started off as a way to protest the 55 mph speed limit in the seventies, but ended up inspiring great cinematography. In real life Erwin G. “Cannonbal” Baker was simply a guy who traveled across the United States on terrible roads in the earlier half of the 1900’s and setting a record of 50 hours and 53 minutes to go coast to coast.
In the movie David Carradine plays Cannonball Buckman, a recently paroled ex-convict trying to restart his racing career, and what better way to do that than an underground race very people outside the circuit will ever hear about right? I mean come on, that is just poor brand marketing. Maybe he should hire a manager and try to get on the NASCAR circuit. Anyway, since Buckman was on parole, obviously he had to avoid the law, so he got his buddy to drive an identical car and run cover for him.
Deathrace 2000: Of the two Carradine race movies, I guess this one came out first which should have put it first, but fuck all that. This movie is the champion, so it should go last. You know what? Fuck, I am reviewing this one last of all cause it is the money shot that spurts in your eyes.
Now, any of you that know anything about me at all know that I think perhaps the greatest achievement mankind has ever accomplished is the joining of Hal Needham, Jerry Reed, Sally Field and Burt Reynolds who came together in 1977 to make what would become my bible…Smokey and the Bandit. What I don’t understand is how if that movie was so amazing, and even its sequel SATB:2 were so great (shh we won’t mention the third one that sucked ass) how could putting Hal and Burt together again in 1981 didn’t yield the same results. The two movies I am referring to are Cannonball Run and Cannonball Run 2, and I guess to a much much lesser extent Speed Zone!
Cannonball Run: It isn’t that this movie sucked…not by a long shot. This movie still kicks maximum ass, so I don’t want you to think that. It just wasn’t as cool as Smokey and the Bandit. any way, on to the awesomeness of this film. This one, though also inspired by the Seas to Shining Sea dash has even more to do with it than the original Cannonball. This movie’s screenwriter was actually Brock Yates, the guy who organized the original race and also features the idea of using a modified ambulance to fool authorities, which had been done in the real life race. The main characters are J.J. McClure (Burt Reynolds) and his sidekick Victor Prinzi (Dom Deluise) who own a racing company. This film had a ton of great cameos and co stars in it, as well as Burt Reynolds mustache, which makes any movie better. One of my favorite jokes in this movie was Roger Moore playing playing a character named Seymour Goldfarb, Jr. heir to the “Goldfarb Girdle Family Fortune” who thinks that he is actor Roger Moore playing James Bond. Another great gimmick is Victor Prinzi’s super hero alter ego “Captain Chaos!”
Cannonball Run 2: This movie is admittedly worse than the firs, what can I say, I still love it. There is just something about late 70’s to mid eightes comedy car movies that make me want to pull on my Coors Light hat (Don’t you know you can’t truck Coors Beer east of Texas? That’s bootleggin’) grab a 36 pick and laugh my ass off. Only check this movie out if that sounds like you, otherwise beat your balls with a hammer while watching a race for the same effect.
Speed Zone! : I don’t know what it is, but when you start off with Burt Reynolds and Hal Needham and you make a movie that kicks ass, then make a sequel that is alright, but just not that great, why wouldn’t you stop? Why would you make a third movie with out Reynolds and try to push it on people. You know it is going to suck Wasn’t that lesson learned well enough in Smokey and the Bandit 3? Even I have to say this movie sucks. The premise was solid, I will give it that. A new Cannonball Run was organized, but all of the racers were arrested before it started so replacements needed to be found right away. Aside from that it is all shit.
The Gumball Rally: I have to say if you can actually find this movie, it is damn good. I really can’t figure out why this movie didn’t do better than and outlast Cannonball Run. The Gumball Rally came out in 1976 just like the original Cannonball (the one with Kung Fu, not mustache), and while Cannonball was supposed to be a serious film, Gumball Rally was a comedy. I really liked Raul Julia in this film and aside from M.Bison and Gomez, this is what I picture when I think of him. This movie had a bunch of great jokes that were actually lifted by Cannonball Run including One cop chasing the racers the entire time.
So now it is time to go back to the king… DEATH RACE 2000!
Deathrace 2000!: This takes place in the future of 2000. Apparently in 1976 the world had fallen apart and the American economy went to shit. The president in his infinite wisdom ordered a cross country race that would give the racers points based on their positions at various checkpoints, but perhaps more interesting, points for killing men, women, children and the elderly. Tell me that isn’t fucking cool. Wanna know some other bad ass shit? The hero’s name is Frankenstein!!!! That gives me a fucking chubby right there. He is called Frankenstein because he was “rebuilt be government technology”. This movie makes me cream in my pants so much they get stiff and crusty after drying out. I even like Stallone in this move.
So yeah, Fox and the TV guide channel have pissed me off by saying that Drive is exciting or original, fuck all that but you know what makes it all o.k.? There is a new Deathrace coming out in 2008 being directed by Paul W.S. Anderson.