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Archive for October 9th, 2011

I grew up in the 80’s watching classic 70’s car movies like Smokey and the Bandit (1977) and The Driver (1978) (not to be confused with Road Movies like Two-Lane Blacktop (1971) and Vanishing Point (1971)). These movie became deeply unfashionable for a time but thanks changing taste and directors like Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino they are experiencing something of a renaissance. There have been four such movies so far this year:

Fast Five

Moving away from the fun and guilty pleasures of the early movies I declared the Fast & Furious franchise dead after the terrible Fast & Furious (2009) but then out of nowhere came Fast Five. Amazingly it is actually a surprisingly good film. Returning cast members are joined by some new faces including “The Rock” (now using his real name, Dwayne Johnson) playing a tough (aren’t they all in these movies) cop on the trail of Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. Don’t get me wrong there is nothing original, innovative or clever about the movie, it is dumb even by the standards of the series but surprisingly good fun and possibly the best of the franchise. Car highlight: 1970 Dodge Charger. Classics to see if you like this: The Italian Job (1969) – Point Break (1991)

Faster

Dwayne Johnson again, this time on the wrong side of the law in a revenge pic. Simply known as Driver, Johnson‘s character is released from prison after ten years and immediately jumps behind the wheel of a classic Chevrolet Chevelle SS and speeds of on a killing spree of revenge. Again the movie lacks originality but is well made surprisingly well acted and very watchable. Car highlight: 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle SS. Classics to see if you like this: White Lightning (1973) – Walking Tall (1973)

Drive Angry

With its supernatural themes Drive Angry is very different to the other movies on the list. In Faster, “Driver” serves his time in prison before seeking revenge, in this movie, the improbably named John Milton (Nicolas Cage) doesn’t have time to wait, he breaks out of Hell to save his granddaughter and avenge the killing of his daughter. Given the name of the movie and the presence of some great muscle cars there is surprisingly little car action and the narrative is a mess but it gets away with it because it is such good fun, the presence of the gorgeous Amber Heard and the brilliant William Fichtner doesn’t hurt, the pointless 3D does! Car highlight: 1969 Dodge Charger. Classics to see if you like this: The Devil Rides Out (1968) – Race with the Devil (1975).

Drive

Another character known as Driver but a very different movie to Faster. The “Driver” (Ryan Gosling) of this movie is a Hollywood stunt man who moonlights getaway driver. I’m not sure how, or if I even want to classify this movie, if I did I would have to call it describe it as an art house movie pretending to be an action crime drama. Violent and brutal but perfectly cast and beautifully filmed (by Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn) it is one of my favourite movies of the year. Car highlight: 1973 Chevrolet Chevelle. Classics to see if you like this: The Driver (1978) – Thief (1981).

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