As a child with a 1:24 scale model of the first generation Viper constantly adorning my bedroom amongst other automotive related furnishings, my eyes were glued to the Viper television series. It was full of horrible dialogue, campy acting, and a car that transformed (I wonder where they got that idea from?) into a V10 powered, crime fighting caricature of itself. I was 10 years old when it first appeared on TV, so I didn’t care about the obvious insert of a disabled African American male in a wheelchair to appease focus groups. Nor did I care about stupid weapons which were probably taken straight from the dusty script of a failed Star Trek pilots.
In my lifetime, I have yet to see a good, live action, car themed television show. Just look at the last Knight Rider reboot or The Transporter for proof. Even worse, the movie studios want you to spend big money to watch fantastic failures on the big screen which will make you shout at inaccuracies and pine for a movie exec to get it right for once.
Outside the non-fiction genre of Senna and Ron Howard’s upcoming dramatized Rush which peers into Niki Lauda’s near-fatal accident, why can’t someone make a decent fucking car movie or television show?
In my almost 30 years of life, I have been lucky to enjoy the classics: Vanishing Point (the original), Grand Prix, Gone In 60 Seconds (the original, not the Cagey version), and Bullitt. I wasn’t alive when they first came out, so I have no idea if they were critically acclaimed films or flubs when they were first shone on the silver screen. And, honestly, I don’t care. They’re still better than the ultra-CGI colon polyps of today. Hell, Ford even built a Bullitt-style Mustang in recent years. Can you see Volkswagen resurrecting the “Fast and Furious” Jetta? Even if they did, you’d absolutely hate them for it. I’d give props to Ferrari for building an Eddie Griffin Edition Enzo though, sans nose, even if it was only for a laugh.
But, what makes all recent movies and TV shows with any sort of petrol-fuelled theme suck so much?
Attention to detail.
As soon as I see a car do something that obviously couldn’t be done without the assistance of Industrial Light and Magic waving their digital wand over it, I automatically hate it. The absurd crashes in Driven? The horrid dirt road drag race in Biker Boyz where Laurence Fishburne and Derek Luke are able to have a conversation with each other while riding at full clap? Redline?
Give us the car chase in Ronin. Hell, even Days of Thunder wasn’t too bad. I could go for a rental car smash up derby along Daytona Beach any day over watching Stallone hum to himself on the race radio while lifting dimes off the road with his rear tire. Just give us something correct.