dir Renny Harlin
scr Sylester Stallone
with Sylvester Stallone, Kip Pardue, Burt Reynolds, Til Schweiger, Robert Sean Leonard, Estella Warren, Stacy Edwards, Gina Gershon, Cristian de la Fuente, Brent Briscoe, Michael Boisvert, Verona Feldbusch
release US 27.Apr.01; UK 5.Oct.01
Warners 01/US 1h56
2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
welcome to the human race Despite the gratuitous scantily clad girls, revving cars and explosions, Bruckheimer had nothing to do with this film, a fact that becomes clear in the script, which attempts valiantly to avoid structural cliches and add Depth and Meaning to the goings on. Set in the fast-paced, thrill-a-second world of Formula One racing, this is the story of the meeting of minds between an up-and-coming young driver Jimmy Bly (Pardue) and still-got-it veteran Joe Tanto (Stallone). Nuff said. Along the way we get lots of spiffy race action, as we follow these two characters around the season, teaching, learning, rebelling, coping with their main competition (Schweiger), their wheelchair-bound tough-guy boss (Reynolds) and Jimmy's slimy brother/manager (Leonard). Not to mention the chicks, all of whom are involved in a love triangle of some sort: blonde babe (Warren), hottie journalist (Edwards), scene-chewing exwife (Gershon). You know the drill: Gentlemen, start your engines.

The script raises the levels of corniness on virtually every front with trite gimmicks, relationship mumbo jumbo and all manner of mortality contemplating. But at least it tries to be meaningful! The result, while ludicrously silly, dodges some of the most glaring Hollywood pitfalls (there's no snarling villain). And while the discover-what-you're-made-of moral is nonsense, the characters do grow and change. Well, the men do. For all the sexy girls and innuendo, the film is utterly sexless, really. The acting is nothing great, but then how much can we really see or hear with Harlin's whizzy, swooping camera work, which never sits still long enough for the characters to have a conversation. The flashy editing and in-yer-face effects keep our adrenaline pumping, while the loud sound and music mix never lets up for a second. There are more car crashes in this one season than all Grand Prix history put together, each one staged with mounting outrageousness as the personal drama gets increasingly histrionic. Slick, superficial, loud, surprisingly entertaining ... and pure drivel.
themes, language, violence cert PG 14.Aug.01

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2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall