With car carnage cacophony Fast and Furious 6 riding high at the box office, what better time to dust off this retro classic and give it a spin?

That’s obviously the thinking from Kaleidoscope Home Entertainment, and who can blame them?

An enjoyable, fast-paced romp in which the viewer is actively encouraged to leave their brain in neutral and simply enjoy the ride, this 1974 flick obviously provided the inspiration for the 2000 Cage/Jolie box office smash.66675_medium

This effort is far more stripped down though (and features a considerably smaller budget) – but that makes it no less enjoyable.

Director/star HB Halicki plays Pace, a car thief who has the clever idea of trawling junkyards for cars, stripping them of the identification marks, then stealing a brand-spanking new version of the same car and switching the identification tags to avoid detection.

This is a rather profitable venture, but before long Pace and his gang of chop-shop cronies are mixed up in a drug smuggling ring.

Pace is hired to steal 48 cars by a South American drug lord, which proves an easy task apart from one – a 1973 Ford Mustang.

When they eventually get the Mustang in their sights, they find out they have been set up – leading to a cross-country chase as they are pursued by a horde of police.

And boy does that chase go on – for the final 40 or so minutes of the film no less.

But fear not, you won’t be scanning your watch wondering just how much longer they could stretch things out as the whole thing is handled with considerable aplomb (and features the destruction of 93 vehicles if the advertising blurb is to be believed).

Anyone sitting down to watch this looking forward to strong performances and a nuanced script will be pretty disappointed, as the acting would probably look out of place at an am-dram production.

I’m also slightly confused by just how Halicki managed to put this together, as a huge chunk of the dialogue seems to have been overdubbed by off-screen actors after the event (played out over footage of cars being sliced up).

But, let’s face it, who in their right mind is going to take in Gone In 60 Seconds for the acting? I know I didn’t, and if it is road mayhem you are after then you have come to the right place.

With echoes of similar 70s offerings Vanishing Point and Two-Lane Blacktop, this is very much a film that you simply strap in for the ride and let the whole thing wash over you.

And, if I am totally honest, it is pretty difficult not to love a film in which the Mustang (known as ‘Eleanor’) gets top billing in the credits.

EXTRAS: Halicki Documentary, interviews, featurettes and trailers

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written two books, one on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014) and the other on the history of the character Norman Bates (2015). His third book, on the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker, is due in 2017.