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Paul (Joey Travolta, John's less successful brother) is the champion of
crash car racing, winning race after race, much to the dismay of mobster
Bronski (Ricardo Palacios), who is always betting against him (though
it's unclear why) & who didn't succeed in bribing Paul, neither. So for the
next race, the prolific Highway Crash, he takes more drastic action, ruining
his car & threatening Paul & his mechanic Nick (Vittorio Mezzogiorno)
not to show up at the race.
But Paul & Nick are not 2 gzuys to be taken
down that easily, & despite not having any kind of car, they try to get to
the race by train, & after they even have to get off the train because it
is swarming with Bronski's goons, they happen to stumble across one of Nick's
friends who just hjappens to have a perfect racecar in his garage he offers
them for the race (my, some guys have all the luck).
But of course in their
new turbo, they are soon pursued by Bronski's goons again, who desperately want
to get them off the road, & somehow lovely archeologist Janice (Ana
Obregón) gets between lines, so Paul & Nick decide to take her along for
the ride. For Janice, our heroes also make a detour, because she wants to sell
a little Mayan statue to Kirby (John Steiner), a rich and eccentric collector,
but he, after challenging Paul to a car race (& losing it of course) tries
to pull a fast one on them, when he destorys Janice's statue because it looked
too much like one of his own ... & then his statue wouldn't be all that
However, Paul, Nick & Janice make a quick getaway, with
Janice managing to nick Kirby's statue, so Kirby soon picks up pursuit as well,
but when he sees Paul outsmarting Bronski's pursuers with great regularity -
among other things, Paul in his turbo has to fight a dozen of mighty trucks in
a quarry - Kirby decides to switch sides & help them ...
The day of the
race, Paul, Nick & Janice have only just made it there & finished the
repairs on the car, when they are barred from participating because they can't
afford the entrance fee: 20.000 Dollars. So Janice does the only sensible thing
& sells the little Mayan statue back to Kirby to afford the starting money,
& Paul does indeed have an excellent start ... much to the dismay of
Bronski, who wants to save his hide stealing the betting money & making a
neat getaway, but Nick manages to stop him, beats him up & forces him to
watch Paul win ...
Around the mid-70's, a new genre, the car chase
comedy, did emerge with movies like Grand Theft Auto, Death
Race 2000, Cannonball & the
Smokie and the Bandit-movies, which pretty much took the classic
car chase, a centerpiece of many action-movies out of its narrative context,
& made the chase into the narration itself - which of course makes up for
only a very feeble plot (& as a result, car chase comedies more often than
not just didn't work).
By 1980, this short lived genre was pretty much in
full swing, it's most prominent contestant from that year being probably the
overrated Blues Brothers, while in the following year Cannonball Run
would pretty much sum up everything bad about the genre.
In 1980, the
Italians - who back then were always quick to jump any bandwagon - would do
their own car chase comedy, Car Crash, which like so many other movies
would be very weak on story, full of bad jokes, & while the action was
competently handled, any tension that would have made the film interesting was
totally missing, mainly because it did offer little more than one-dimensional
characters, who are quite difficult to identify with, going through a series of
uninteresting but unbelievable plottwists.