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FAST COMPANY (1979) **

Lonnie (William Smith) is a top competitor on the funny car circuit.  Lonnie’s greedy sponsor Adamson (John Saxon) creates tension among the racing team by playing him against a rookie driver (Nicholas Campbell).  Eventually Adamson provokes Lonnie into punching him, which gets him kicked off the team.  Determined to win the big funny car rally, Lonnie steals his car back from Adamson and enters it in the race.  The spiteful Adamson sabotages the race and it all ends tragically. 

 

Fast Company could’ve been a pretty good racing movie.  Unfortunately, David Cronenberg isn’t the best director for this kind of material.  I know his love of racing is what drew him to the film but his cold, aloof style doesn’t exactly jibe with the sports genre.  To make a sports flick work, you need a lot of raw emotion to keep you invested in the characters.  Cronenberg’s style is just too detached to make you really care.  Sure his sterilized styling is good when you’re making a movie about mutant flies, cancer guns, and sex parasites, yet it doesn’t really wash when it comes to a racing movie.  Still, as atypical outings by masters of horror go, it’s a helluva lot better than that Ghetto Kids with Violins movie Wes Craven did.

 

The best thing the flick has going for it is the cast.  William Smith is pretty much on autopilot for most the flick but he still has enough charisma to keep you watching.  John Saxon is quite good as the manipulative backstabbing sponsor and Claudia (Gator Bait) Jennings looks damned fine.  (Sadly, she died shortly after this film was released.)  Speaking of hot bods, the scene where Nicholas Campbell picks up two sexy hitchhikers and pours motor oil all over their nude bodies is quite memorable. 

 

Cronenberg handles the racing scenes rather flatly but the last five minutes of the movie is kinda nuts.  I don’t want to spoil it for you but it involves lots of explosions, crashing airplanes, and people getting set on fire.  You know, stuff Cronenberg would normally put into a film.  I only wish that the previous 85 minutes been filled with the same kind of energy.  The flick also has a cheesy as Hell theme song that’s good for a laugh.  It reminds you of the kind of song Orgazmo made fun of.

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