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Vanishing Point

June 24, 2007

Vanishing Point

“Just for kicks I like to put one of these down my pants.”

Finally a break from the horror marathon that I’ve been on the past few months. Vanishing Point is a return to the cult 1970’s car chases where vehicles got 12 miles to the gallon, everyone had perms, and girls rode around on motorcycles naked. Well maybe not that last one so much. Vanishing Point was the inspiration for Tarantino’s Death Proof which was a part of the double feature Grindhouse film and you can definitely see the influence. Though I think Tarantino made a better film.

Barry Newman plays our reluctant hero Kowalski, a man with a deep past, no first name, and a need for speed. Apparently no longer king of a sausage empire, Kowalski is actually a former race car driver now hooked on narcotics and working for a car delivery service. He has little regard for the car’s condition once they arrive so he drives them like they’re a Hertz rental car. The thin plot revolves around him making a bet with the local pimp that he can get a 70′ Dodge Challenger from Colorado to California in less than 15 hours. I say to always put your money on the pimp, they know how to play the odds.

The cops who have all the competence of the police force from the Dukes of Hazard , attempt to stop Kowalski from his speed infractions and non-signaled lane changes. This mostly consists of following his dust trail and cursing loudly but it’s a nice break from their decisions over glazed or sprinkled doughnuts.

Meanwhile in a desolate Arizona town where nobody apparently speaks, the only blind black DJ who plays R&B music learns of the epic car chase on his police band radio. As the entire Arizona police force chase our hero through the desert, “SuperSoul” (not his real DJ name) tries to talk to Kowalski through his radio broadcasts and through his SuperSoul Psychic Connection tm

Kowalski takes a shortcut off the main road encountering a snake catching prospector who helps him hide his vehicle from the police helicopters. The old man, who sounds a bit like Yosemite Sam, gives him some vague directions on how to actually get back onto the highway where our hero faces the choice of jail or forced construction labor. All these headaches could have been avoided with a planned route with Google maps.

Vanishing point has some decent car chase sequences and a naked girl on a motorcycle but overall it’s somewhat of a snoozer. I would advise watching Grindhouse instead. You’ll see the same great Dodge Challenger in some much better racing sequences and with some much prettier ladies driving it. Barry Newman sure makes an ugly girl with his 70’s perm.

Keep an eye out for…
– race car drivers with bad perms cranked on speed
– pipecleaner shaped naked girls on motorcycles
– jive takin’ blind psychic DJ’s
– death by highway construction
– gratuitous use of flashback sequences
– imprompto desert music festivals
– heat stroked snake catchers
– hippies on mopeds

SuperSoul…now with 40% more soul cleansing power.

rated 7.2 out of 10 for the movie

Learn more about this movie at imbd.com

Check out the trailer for Vanishing Point

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One comment

  1. Man, I JUST reviewed this movie over at my blog, too. I hadn’t seen it since I was 11 and was very happy to see that it still gripped my like it did back when I was a little kid. Since Grindhouse, I’m seeing a little more interest in the movie since that movie didn’t lose five minutes without dropping its name or Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry. Great flick and now that I’m a lot older, I was able to see what it was trying to say. I’d say that its underlying message is still relevant in this time.

    Drop by my blog some time if you have a minute. http://www.cinema-suicide.com



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