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Vanishing Point May 28, 2007

Posted by Sai in English, Movies, Reviews.

This is the second car flick from that seventies that I’ve watched due to a reference in the recent film, Grindhouse. The 1970 Dodge Challenger used in Tarantino’s Death Proof segment from that film was the same one that was used in this film. Like Gone in 60 Seconds, this is also a B-movie with almost no plot but has a cult following due to the chase scenes.

Kowalski (Barry Newman) is an ex-cop and ex-race car driver who has now taken up a job of delivering cars. His current delivery is a supercharged 1970 Dodge Challenger from Denver, Colorado to San Francisco, California. He bets with a friend that he would deliver the car in record time and speeds on. Cops give chase and the rest of the film is about the games between the cops and Kowalski leading to a shocking climax.

The film also features a blind DJ (Cleavon Little) who relays messages to Kowalski as he tries to escape from the cops through four states and makes him out to be the “Last American Hero”. Kowalski also meets a variety of people on his road trip including bikers, drug addicts, gay hitchhikers and a naked biker chick. It isn’t really clear why Kowalski does what he does and a lot is left to the imagination of the audience. Check out the Wikipedia page on this film for some imaginative interpretations of the climax.

Since, this is a low budget movie, the technical quality isn’t great. The acting is much better than what I saw in Gone in 60 seconds. The background score was a let down for me and it makes me realize even more how important it is to the impact created by a film. Despite drawbacks, the film has its share of thrilling moments and will appeal to those who love car flicks. Others might find it a bit too monotonous to watch.

After watching this film and Gone in 60 seconds, I realize what Tarantino means when he says that these movies had some neat ideas even if the execution wasn’t perfect. And in making Death Proof as a homage, he has definitely sold me the genre by bettering these movies.



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