BLU-RAY/DVD REVIEWS

003791Reviews & Counting
SEARCH BY TITLE # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Road Racers
BLU-RAY disk
04.23.2012 By: Chris Bumbray
Road Racers order
Director:
Robert Rodriguez

Actors:
David Arquette
Salma Hayek
John Hawkes

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

star Printer-Friendly version
comment
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Dude (David Arquette) is a rebel. Why? Because he just is dammit! He lives in a small, dead-end town, and is regularly harassed by a crazy local cop (William Sandler) and his homicidal son (Jason Wiles). The only bright spots in Dude’s life are his girl, Latina beauty Donna (Salma Hayek), his best pal Nixer (John Hawkes), and his music. Will Dude be able to escape his small-town nightmare and make something of himself, or is he doomed to go out in a final blaze of glory?
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
ROAD RACERS is kind of Robert Rodriguez’s lost film. His follow-up to EL MARIACHI, ROAD RACERS was part of a mid-nineties project by cable channel Showtime (before they struck it big with DEXTER and WEEDS- they were mostly known for soft-core stuff like RED SHOE DIARIES) called “Rebel Highway” where feature directors were invited to remake old AIP classics. The budgets were shoe-string, but the directors had total creative control- and Rodriguez’s film turned out so well that Miramax picked it up for their library- but other than a mid-nineties VHS release, this has gone unseen for a long time.

Having been shot in just eleven days, for under a million bucks, ROAD RACERS nevertheless oozes style. One can see how it was an important bridge from EL MARIACHI to DESPERADO, as he was able to hone his craft working on 35mm with an American crew. Would DESPERADO have been as good if he hadn’t been able to hone out the kinks in his technique with this? Probably not.

While essentially an exercise, ROAD RACERS has that cool mid-nineties indie feel that I love (despite taking place in the fifties). Arquette, who never quite crossed over (outside his role in the SCREAM franchise) does a great job as Dude- with him ramping up the James Dean-style brooding to an (intentionally) ridiculous degree. As his best pal Nixer, we get a really young John Hawkes- who steals enough scenes here that Rodriguez used him again a few years later as the unfortunate corner-store clerk who gets set aflame by the Gekko brothers in FROM DUSK TILL’ DAWN.

Perhaps most noteworthy of all is that ROAD RACERS marked Salma Hayek’s English language debut- with Rodriguez explaining that part of the reason he took this was to prove to Sony that Hayek could handle the lead in an English language film. Throughout, Hayek is almost hypnotically beautiful, and if she was struggling at all with her first role in English, you’d never know it here.

As a whole, ROAD RACERS cruises along really well until about the point when he goes to check out INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS with Nixer at the local theater. From there, it takes a turn into the absurd- but again, that seems to be an intentional move on Rodriguez’s part- not only faithful to the way these fifties AIP movies tended to play out, but perhaps also suggesting that the last act is unfolding in Dude ‘s head. ROAD RACERS kinda makes me wish Rodriguez would get back to this kind of film- rather than the Grindhouse route he’s taken lately.

THE EXTRAS
There are two great extras here. One is the audio commentary by Rodriguez, where he looks back fondly at the production. The second, a really interesting edition of his trademark Ten Minute Film School giving us a great rundown of the film, and offering loads of behind the scenes footage. This is a great bonus feature.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
It’s really great that ROAD RACERS is finally getting a legitimate release, as it deserves to be seen. It’s a quirky, totally fun little slice of nineties indie madness, and a harbinger of what was to follow for Rodriguez. It’s totally worth checking out.
Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

Best Selling

| November 2016 More Best Selling
  • 1
    Harry Potter (Complete)
  • 2
    Captain America: Civil War
  • 3
    Finding Dory
  • 4
    The Secret Life of Pets
  • 5
    Star Trek Beyond

Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting

Movie Hottie Of The Week

More