Gone In 60 Seconds (1974) – Review

film reviews | movies | features | BRWC Gone In 60 Seconds (1974) - Review

So you like huge muscle cars with ginormous engines. You’re bored of car show circuit, you’ve used the vouchers to drive a Porsche round a track for a day. What do you do to get your next fix of sweet later motor oil? You make a film of course. Which is what H.B. Halicki did in 1974.  Coming from a career in haulage and junkyards Halicki’s next logical step was to make write, produce, direct and star in a film in which he could brum brum and vroom vroom to his hearts content.

The film is now famous for having a big-budget, brum brum, vroom vroom, shooty shooty, bang bang remake that was a pile of shit. Who here remembers Christopher Eccelston’s wood fetish? My, my what a compelling villain. The original is also famed for having a near forty minute car chase that takes up nearly half the film. That alone should tell you whether or not you will enjoy Gone in 60 Seconds.

There is a wonderful, grimey b-movie feel to the film. Seemingly self-financed as a labour of love by Halicki it brings to mind Melvin Van Peebles’ Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song, except without the political and social message behind it. This is a movie in it’s purest form. Simple plot; corrupt insurers steal cars for money. As a results we get to see lots of nice looking cars driving around fast. Their are no pretensions of this being profound, dramatic storytelling. It’s not filmed in an overly stylized fashion. The script is filled with cliches and riddled with melodrama. I’d be shocked if the majority of the cast went on to further careers. Jerry Daugirda as Halcki’s best friend turned nemesis particular puts in monumental performance of staggering mediocrity. The crowning moment being when he walks out of phone box having squealed on his partners cloaked in a rain coat (because he’s being secretive) and say aloud to himself “that’ll fix you!” . The camera  work is perfunctory at best, working just enough to get everything in shot. That is until the mamoth car chase hits the screen and the camera crew seemingly wake up. The entire sequence is shot with an edge that would still thrill most cinema goers today unless you’ve watched Ronin and Fast and Furious 6 a billion times in which case you might think it as exciting as an episode of Songs of Praise.

Sadly Halicki died whilst filming a stunt for a scene during the making of Gone in 60 Seconds 2 – planned 14 years on, it would have been interesting to see where he took the art of filming cars/car crashes too. He had a talent for it, as Dominic West’s bland remake demonstrated – just cause you have more expensive cars, it doesn’t mean they look more exciting.  Stick with this unpolished turd of a gem. It’s ultimately hard to dislike a film that wheres its intent so firmly on its sleeve.

This car go fast. You no like. You no watch.

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