The 1974 action-crime drama "Gone in 60 Seconds," the inspiration for the 2000 Jerry Bruckheimer-produced remake also entitled "Gone in 60 Seconds" starring Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie, hits the home video shelves with a two-disc set consisting of a Blu-ray disc and a DVD. Unlike its mainstream counterpart, this distinctively personal film is an independent effort that is not exactly marked by a professional production, but it is not in any way a work of an amateur either. With a style of its own, this campy cult movie directed, written, and acted by daredevil H.B. Halicki is famous for having wrecked and destroyed 93 cars in its delirious 40-minute car-chasing scene. This is often described as one of the greatest chase scenes in cinema history.
With such an ambitious feat that risked many lives including his, this first-time filmmaker took all kinds of crazy possibilities to film in real locations with his relatively amateur crew. Together, they came up with a simple but high-adrenaline feature about a respectable insurance investigator and his uncanny team of unstoppable car thieves. After receiving an exceptional order from a valued client demanding for 48 stolen cars of specific models and makes, they savor the challenge of earning hundreds of thousands of dollars in a span of a week. As they race toward the last order, they find themselves tipped off the police and they desperately try to escape.
This unprecedented indie flick rises beyond what the usual low-budget filmmaking looks like. Cinematically speaking, it suffers from poor audio-visual setup, bad acting, and weak direction. But the complexity of its speeding chases sustains and builds from minute to minute, eventually reaching a thoroughly entertaining crescendo. It may not have the special-effects extravaganza of most fast-car movies, but this realistic, effects-free project still puts together one of the most spectacular and extremely exciting action-packed car chases in movie history.
Filled with Seventies hairstyles, clothes, music, and muscle cars, this period piece looks quite dated on a technical point of view. The transfer's very grainy texture is certainly lacking richness and detail. Shots occasionally stumble across some pixel, shimmer, and edge enhancement issues. Yet, these errors are quite negligible. For a vintage material shot on a shoestring budget, the picture looks adequate even with its rough cinematography.
The film hosts two five-channel surround tracks and one stereo track. None of these is lossless and the surrounds and bass aren't as expansive as expected. The very hollow dialogue, as well as the modestly applied new effects, lack potency and power. At the very least, the mix still sounds generally clear and understandable. No crucial aural problems plague the presentation.
The package hosts a variety of SD extras including an intro by the director's spouse Denice Halicki, an audio commentary, the documentary "The Life and Times of H.B. 'Toby' Halicki: The Car Crash King," a collection of behind-the-scene videos in "Car Crash King's 'Cut to the Chases' Featurettes," the interview videos entitled "Denice Halicki" and "Lee Iacocca Automobile Icon," and previews for Halicki's sophomore film "The Junkman," and his third and final offering back-to-back with its accompanying documentary in "Deadline Auto Theft/Gone in 60 Seconds 2."
Wild, amazingly accomplished, and thriving on pure, unadulterated action, this revered cult movie provides a brutally honest depiction of vehicular mayhem on screen. The amount of carnage in this extremely dangerous production undertaking readily defined the genre, making it an instant classic among action and car movie aficionados. Amidst its technical and storytelling flaws, is still a must-see piece of grand theft entertainment.
- Arts & Entertainment