H.B. Halicki wrote, produced, directed, starred and did all of his own stunt driving in this high octane, low budget drive-in hit. Halicki plays Mandrian Pace, a car thief who is trying to steal 48 expensive cars. He pisses off his business partner one too many times, so he calls the cops on Pace while he’s in the process of stealing a ’73 Mustang codenamed “Eleanor”. The next forty minutes is nothing but one big chase scene as Pace tries to outrun the cops while causing some serious car crashes, ten car pile-ups and other assorted general mayhem.
The extended chase sequence that passes for the film’s second half is quite exciting, although it does get a bit numbing after awhile. I have nothing against Halicki smashing cars up for the last forty minutes of this film, but I do have some pretty major issues with the first fifty five minutes of the movie. The biggest problem is with Pace himself. Halicki isn’t a bad actor, but Pace barely even qualifies as a movie character. We never learn anything about him other than he’s a car thief, and he’s a pretty unlikable one to boot. He treats his business partner like shit, brushes off the advances of his lady friend and never has any non-related car dialogue in the whole movie.
Speaking of dialogue, most of the lines in the movie (especially in the opening scenes) are done almost entirely in voiceovers to disguise that the “plot” of this thing was kinda put in after the fact. The reason that there is so little plot in this flick is because the amazing car crashes ARE the plot. I’m not saying that’s really a bad thing, but at least the 2000 Nicolas Cage remake had SOME depth to it and a handful of likable characters. This one has neither.
Well the big question I guess is, is there really anything to recommend about this movie besides the stellar car crashes? Sure, if you get off on seeing a bunch of non-descript guys with 70’s muttonchops and handlebar moustaches wearing turtlenecks and aviator sunglasses, you’ll certainly have a field day with the film. Do yourself a favor and skip immediately to the fifty five minute mark of the movie and enjoy the chase scene. It truly is one of the best ever filmed. Everything else in the flick is thoroughly disposable.
Halicki died in 1989 while filming stunts for the sequel.