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|While Metal is Crumpling, Five Stars. But They Talk, Too.
|All in all, a better film than Halicki's first, the original Gone in 60 Seconds.
No-one is ever going to accuse the late H.B.Halicki of being a great writer, director or actor. But he sure could wreck cars.
The story in this film is more coherent and comprehensible than in his Gone in 60 Seconds, and the overall production values (sound especially) are higher.
Plotwise, it's a sort of thriller -- junkman H.B.Hollis (Halicki) has made a car-crash film called Gone in 60 Seconds and someone wants to kill him before the film opens -- both for the publicity his death in a car crash will bring and to take over the (family) corporation. So they sic assassins in cars and airplanes on him as he drives cross-country to a James Dean tribute festival.
And we're off to the races.
Despite the violence implicit in the plot, this is, overall, a pretty light-hearted comedy serving mostly as an excuse to crash even more cars than in the previous film in even more inventive ways. Nicely absurd touches include the row of sunglasses on Hollis's dashboard that never move no matter how violent the maneuver, and the RFD mailboxes he hits partway through the chase.
The level of seriousness with which Halicki and crew approached this film can be seen from the fact that the sign on "Hollis's" junkyard is not changed and still reads "H.B.Halicki Mercantile Emporium and Junk Yard"; the collections of classic cars and of toys contained therein, by the way, are wonderful.
The late Hoyt Axton plays himself, and has a wonderful time doing so, by all indications.
Particularly noteworthy are the stunts involving aerobatic planes, including one in which a car jumps over an airplane -- but there are some purely automotive eye-poppers, too. (Nothing to match "The Jump" from 60 Seconds for pure "How did anyone have the guts to do THAT?" bravura, but the jump over the stage and the parking-lot escape, for instances, are pretty good.)
Given the degree of improvements Halicki exhibits in technique and story between 60 Seconds and this film, it's particularly disappointing that Halicki was killed in a freak accident on the set of his third production, Gone in 60 Seconds II, and we never got to see if he would have been even better on it.
(This review refers to the VHS version -- i understand that there is/ was a DVD version on which the music has largely been replaced with generic music cues due to licensing problems. That would rate half a star less.)