Gone in 60 Seconds: Car Crash King Edition (Blu-ray)

October 30, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

Plot: What’s it about?

As I drive, I get very, very agitated with some (ok, most) other drivers on the road.  I’m not sure you could classify what I have as “Road Rage” or not, since I don’t really target anyone or plan them harm.  No, it’s mainly the people I see who are looking at their phones or are otherwise clearly distracted by something else.  Sorry folks, I’d hate to keep you from concentrating on the road!  Ok, so what’s this got to do with Gone in 60 Seconds?  Not a whole lot, but I don’t do a lot of reviews about car chases, so I had to throw that out there.  I do remember about a decade ago when the re-make of Gone in 60 Seconds came out.  It starred Nicholas Cage, Angelina Jolie and Giovanni Ribisi among others.  I also remember the original coming out on DVD, but I’d never really had an interest in watching it.  I actually liked the re-make and now in 2012, the original has been released on Blu-ray.  It was a rainy day, so why not see the movie that inspired the re-make?

As it turns out, there’s not a whole lot in regard to plot and there’s very little in common with the 2000 version, save a few select scenes and the presence of “Eleanor”, the elusive Mustang.  We meet Maindrian Price (H.B. Halicki), the owner of a chop shop that buys cars for dirt cheap, takes the VIN numbers off them and then steals identical cars.  The profit is what motivates them.  As it turns out, they’ve gotten a big contract, the biggest ever matter-of-fact, in which they need to steal 50 cars by a certain deadline.  We see the different members of his team go about their “duties” and evidently stealing a car is much easier than it is today as most folks just left the keys in their cars!  I was one year old at the time this movie came out, so I can’t attest if people actually did this or not.  Maindrian is nearly complete, but the orange and black Mustang “Eleanor” is always eluding him. He finally scores it, but is pursued by the cops…will it work out for him or not?

Having seen the re-make several times, I was pretty curious as to what the original had in store.  After watching a few of the featurettes, I had no idea what a car freak H.B. Halicki really was.  For those that don’t know Gone in 60 Seconds is famous for essentially one thing – the 40 minute car chase scene (with him in “Eleanor”) that spans a majority of Southern California.  It’s eerily reminiscent of the O.J. Simpson chase scene that happened in 1994.  The movie is about as low budget as you can get, with poor acting and a less than desirable script.  But fans of this movie don’t really care about that, it’s all about the cars.  The box claims “over 93 cars wrecked in the 40 minute car chase!” and while I didn’t count them, I’d say that’s about right.  If you’re a car nut, you’ve probably already seen this and, sadly, H.B. Halicki was shooting a sequel in 1990 but died on the set after an accident.

Video: How does it look?

There are Blu-ray’s out there that will make your television sparkle with high definition imagery that you’d think wasn’t even real.  And then there are titles like this one that make you appreciate how good some transfers can really be.  To its credit, Gone in 60 Seconds is the epitome of a low budget film so I wasn’t really expecting a whole lot.  The 1.85:1 AVC HD image is, how shall we say…challenged at best.  Soft shots dominate and while there are a handful of crisp scenes, they’re few and far between.  Colors seem a bit off as well.  The movie is certainly watchable, but if you’re looking for something that’s razor sharp and will blow you away visually – you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Audio: How does it sound?

The same can be said for the DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack in that it’s got a few good moments, but by and large sounds like a mono mix.  Dialogue sounds very crisp and broken off at times and the actors seem to mumble their lines.  Then again, I’m not sure how many of these people were truly “actors.”  Some of the chase scenes have some high pitched squealing of the wheels, the grumble of the engine sounded good to me a few times, but by and large this really failed to impress.  Again, in the film’s defense, I wasn’t really expecting a whole lot.

Supplements: What are the extras?

There’s a decent selection of extras on this disc and the film can be played both with and without the introduction by Halicki’s widow, Denice.  We get an on-set interview with Denice circa 2000 as she served as a Producer on the re-make.  She tells of how she met her husband and his untimely death (evidently the interview took place ten years to the day after his demise).  More interesting is an interview with creator of the Mustang, Lee Iacocca.  He gives us a brief history of the legendary car and his thoughts on the films.  Lastly are some interviews with Parnelli Jones, J.C. Agajanian, Jr. and Bobby Ore as well as a brief segment on the “Life and Times of H.B. Halicki.”

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