Tuesday, January 17, 2006

CANNONBALL

1976’s CANNONBALL was Roger Corman's non-sci-fi follow-up to DEATH RACE 2000, also starring David Carradine and Mary Woronov and directed by Paul Bartel.

The movie follows a number of colorful characters as they participate in an illegal transcontinental road race from California to New York City. Carradine is "Cannonball" Buckman, an ex-con and ex-stock car racer who needs to win the race to get back into professional racing. Pretty Veronica Hamel (HILL STREET BLUES) is his parole officer, who gets dragged along against her will, while Mary Woronov shows up as the driver of a van full of hot women. Robert Carradine (REVENGE OF THE NERDS) is also one of the racers.

If you're thinking it sounds familiar, well, Burt Reynolds and company ripped this film off wholesale with their CANNONBALL RUN comedies – but this is better and more fun, with some great racing stunts, explosive car crashes, good performances, and cameos by Stallone, Martin Scorsese, Joe Dante, and Corman himself.

Blue Underground released this on DVD just over a year ago, with a gorgeous 1.66:1 anamorphic transfer, and a great new Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtrack – along with a 2.0 surround track and the original mono. (Why couldn't Disney do this?) There's a short but informative documentary with Corman and Carradine and Woronov all sharing their memories of the production, the original theatrical trailer, a few TV spots, and a poster and still gallery.

Recommended.

BUY: Cannonball