Friday, May 20, 2011

Firebird 2015 AD

(David M. Robertson 1981)

The sci-fi angle is extremely thin cover for a movie comprising a handful of cars driving around (and around) an undifferentiated desert landscape. It doesn't even pass muster on the car movie's idiotic terms: they don't roll, they don't crash, they don't blow up - well, one does but it's standing still so it doesn't count. They This is emblematic of the confused reverence with which the filmmakers approach a fetish that they really don't seem to share: the auto-shop talk and right-to-drive libertarian outbursts seem to be pleading with an audience that knows more about their subject than they do. That would also explain the Radio Shack freebie LP of a soundtrack, which cancels out the shiny outfits that are the only real 'futuristic' gesture. The rednecks are super-normal and nice, the cops frown passively through a feature-length coffee break, and the dune-buggy love interest just can't shut up with the fey double-entendres, And then there's this Native American psycho guy who rolls with the cops, whose presence seems to be aimed at two main functions. First he's the required Big Bad Guy - a lazy 'symbol' of someone stuck in the past, aligned with authority, for the car-lovin' heroes to oppose. And when he finally DOES something, round about the end of the second act, it enables the filmmakers to remake The Searchers in their back yard, in almost total darkness and to no great purpose of course. Apart from that, you'd think no one on set had ever even seen a real movie. Good old Darren McGavin acts like he's still working the floor at the horror convention.

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