When you really need to make a sequel to the worst sequel ever made (Cannonball Run II) you better not call it Cannonball Run III. Instead call it Cannonball Fever (where you legally can), get the folks from SCTV and let Jamie Farr make an appearance. Add fast cars and hijinks. Shake and then serve.
The primary reason you want to come into this film is for the fast cars and ridiculous shenanigans when you mix cars and comedy. Well, this one delivers that in spades. From the very get go there are banana-stunts with cars all set to a comedic backdrop. See a Countach skip across a lake, see a BMW 5 series jump 30 feet, see a Jaguar XJS fly - really, really fly. We'll save the most insane stunt for the viewers at home but it involves a commercial airliner.
While there are some serious duds for jokes here and there, there is legitimately good comedy here. The SCTV folks knew how to script a great joke about society and morals. You can see the difference between the chauvinism and grab ass comedy of the Burt Reynolds/Dom Deluise vision of the Great Gumball Rally to the mild, awkward comedy of John Candy and Eugene Levy.
Speed Zone is a true gem of using a tight budget and spending it very wisely. This seems like they had $10 million to spend but in reality it was closer to $1 million. A great cast, lots of cameos, ridiculous stunts and laugh after laugh makes the illegitimate child of the Cannonball Run franchise a great view. Do it!
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“Life begins after 55!” was the tag line to this film, because there was a gas crisis in the 70’s and we used to have to drive real slow on the interstate for a long time thereafter. Originally the film was to be the third installment of the Cannonball Run series but after Reynolds, Delouse and everyone but Jaime Farr (the Sheik) refused to reprise their roles in the film, it then became the red headed stepchild of the franchise. Though the production bungles would eventually sever all ties to the original series, in some territories it was called Cannonball Fever.
Director Jim Drake has had a long and prosperous television career. Beyond this film, he also directed Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol. Speed Zone is more closely related to his roots as he was the original director of both television incarnations of The Second City. On the program we frequently mention actors or comedians who have been involved in the Los Angeles comedy troupe, The Groundlings. The Second City is Chicago’s comedic enterprise. The Second City was popular enough to spawn offshoot troupes and oddly enough it was the troupe from Toronto who rose to television fame.
This film features, most notably, John Candy, Eugene Levy and Joe Flaherty from the aforementioned SCTV. The rest of the ensemble cast so large I refuse to type it out, but your eyes will be treated to a who’s who of C-listers. Off screen legends Carl Lewis and Richard Petty make cameos, and Brooke Shields will win a Razzie for worst supporting actress, even though she herself only had a cameo.
This is a car movie and the main car is a Lamborghini Countach, or at least a go cart gussied up to look like one. On the popular and consistently dangerous to quote website IMDB one of the fine contributors posted in the trivia section that the Countach was a “fake replica”. I have been trying to wrap my head around the existential and nihilistic concept of a fake replica - It’s like not even a thing, it’s like nothing man. This person however is only half right twice, it is fake and or it is a replica but the laws of physics and nature and of this great god fearing nation prevent it from being both.
Speaking of stupid shit that pisses me off, Myth Busters “busted” the myth of whether you could really skip across a lake in a car, even though there was really not a good way to fake it in this movie. They however came to the conclusion that you couldn’t do it in a real Countach. Good job dip shits. A heavy trophy car from the 70s isn’t really a hydroplane. Wow, cracked the code there. Beyond not being a hydroplane it also isn’t really a car as you can’t see out of it and you can’t drive it because the exhaust leaks into the cab. Best poster ever, possibly the worst car ever.