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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Killing Cars


I bought this off a fella via a vhs collector facebook group a little while back. I'm not exactly sure what to think about it to be perfectly honest with you. The allure of seeing Jurgen Prochnow (better known to US audiences as the Captain in Das Bood or as Duke Leto Atreides in the 1984 theatrical version of Dune) in an industrial espionage thriller involving a bullshit looking super car was too strong to avoid. That and the packaging was a bit too much for my eye to turn away from without immediately coming back. Unlike last weeks review, this one did NOT live up to the box art.

As always, it's time for the trailer:


Now that you have seen this much, it's time to tell you what it is all about....or at least try I guess? Prochnow plays a wealthy dude named Ralph Korda. He's basically a TOTAL dickweed who doesn't give a shit about anything that doesn't advance his goals. He also doesn't appear to be very sensible as he is wearing sunglasses while night driving in the opening sequence. Basically he's perfecting a really lame and decidedly over futuristic looking vehicle called the "World Car" that will apparently solve all sorts of problems in the world. But auto barons, oil sheiks, and environmentalists stand in his way at every step...

This is a predictably yawn worthy plot, and I was bored multiple times. Seeing Prochnow run around looking like a sub budget Don Johnson with rolled up sport coat sleeves and an obnoxiously 80's office/apartment (because people thought big in the 80's, and these room is one and the same!) was the only thing that kept me barely interested because it looks so very off.  Perhaps the most jarring thing in this yarn is the complete moral ambivalence of Mr. Korda. He's designing a supposedly efficient car that uses fucking nuclear power. I dunno but last time I checked nuclear reactors fuck everybody's shit up when things go awry, am I right? Real safe shithead. I'm also pretty convinced that he simply gives up on the World Car at the end only because he knows that the auto industry will screw him over no matter what and that he can't make the money he wants because of that rather than a more lofty pro environmental epiphany. Basically this is a movie about a ruthless business jerk who stays that way the entire time- so I guess I can at the very least praise this film for getting that much right.

For such a cheesy movie the soundtrack actually isn't half bad. It's not half good either, but it's exactly the kind of "epic" new wavey trash one needs when watching something like this. I'll also give props for the beginning credits being blasted across the screen on a jumbotron type thing. That's right, the title in the trailer is straight from the opening credits! This film was made in West Germany (where it was released under the title "Blitz"), and as such has a cast of both English and German speaking actors. All you have to do is watch the lip flap on the rather run of the mill dubbing that was done for its international release. Far as I can tell Prochnow is the only actor who re dubbed his own voice as he is fluent in both languages.

I think a movie so aimless and bereft of a message (besides being a rich asshole is okay) could only come out of the mid 1980's. Materialism in extreme excess, awful clothes, ugly cars, and questionable hair cuts abound. I do wonder though if anything changes plotwise when it is watched with German audio, as pretty much any film loses bits in translation. That being said, I'm not curious enough to warrant trying to track a version down or even look around to see if it even exists. Some confusion for film aficionados may result from the surname of its director: Michael Verhoeven. PLEASE do not confuse him as some sort of relative of awesome Dutch powerhouse of a director Paul Verhoeven. Because they aren't related even a little bit. I fell for it without doing any research, so it's the very least I can do to help you avoid the same trap.

Quite mercifully there are no clips (at least that I could find) of this film available for view beyond the trailer. I think this is a good thing, because I'd rather you not waste any more time with this film than you absolutely have to. Next time I want a nap and can't quite find a way to settle myself down I think I'll stretch out on the couch with my blanket and put this on. It's definitely docile and otherwise flaccid enough of an espionage plot. Maybe it would make a good doorstop too. Use your imagination, unlike the people behind this film.

My verdict?
BOOOO! HISSSSS!

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