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10/11/08

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Through IMDb, I just discovered that Cannonball! was directed by Paul Bartel one year after Death Race 2000, which I was going to compare this film to, seeing as how they're both 70's carsploitation (I just made that word up.) flicks, starring David Carradine. It's been a few years since I've seen Death Race 2000, but I think it did everything right where Cannonball! did everything wrong. Race is funny, gory, sexy and endlessly entertaining; while Cannonball! is sloppy, boring and dull. Yeah, boring and dull are the same thing, but I couldn't come up with any more adjectives to describe this cinematic turd. There is no way I should be bored by an exploitation flick, it totally defeats the purpose.

David Carradine is Coy "Cannonball" Buckman, an ex-con and ex-professional race car driver, who wants to race his flame orange Firebird in in the illegal Cannonball Run across the country. Unwillingly along for the ride is his parole officer and girlfriend, one in the same. Since he's the favorite to win, he's got everybody gunning for him, including a gangster who's laid a big bet on another driver. It's a pretty basic set-up, that should provide for some fun, mindless entertainment. There's a couple of good scenes, which I'll post below, but that's about it. The rest of the film is incredibly dull, the racing scenes are mostly uninspired, the acting hovers between good and bad, so you can't get into the characters, but you can't laugh at the actors ineptitude. The score is an earful of awful, it sounds like it was ripped straight from a 70's porn movie that the composer was working on at the same time.

Don't bother in the least. Watch Death Race 2000 again, or one of the other 100 better 70's car-chase films, like Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry, The Vanishing Point, or Bullit. Or if you're in the mood for an 80's comedy version of the Cannonball Run, than check out the ultimate guilty-pleasure film, Cannonball Run, featuring Burt Reynolds in his charismatic prime. - Grade: D

In this scene David Carradine uses some of his Kung Fu skills to beat down a fake cop, sent to take him out of the race. I love the way Carradine pauses for a second before unleashing a fury of kicks.



Here Carradine's had enough of his main rival in the race, Cade Redman, and decides to dispatch him. He jumps an unfinished bridge 20 years before Speed. It's easily the best put together scene in the film, if all the chase scenes in this film had this kind of energy, it'd be a cult-classic.



This has got to be the most ridiculous car crash scene in the history of cinema. It just goes on and on, with cars crashing into each other long after everyone should have stopped. Each collision ending in a huge fireball. It's cheesily entertaining though, I'll admit.


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