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H.B. Halicki as Maindrian Pace/Vicinski
Hoyt Axton as Captain Gibbs
Marion Busia as Pumpkin Chase
Jerry Daugirda as Eugene Chase
James McIntyre as Stanley Chase
George Cole as Atlee Jackson
Ronald Halicki as Corlis Pace
Markos Kotsikos as Uncle Joe Chase
Gone In 60 Seconds 2
Introductions by Denice Halicki
Car Crash Counter
The Life And High Times Of H.B. Halicki
DTS 5.1 Digital Surround Sound
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Deadline Auto Theft is the third film in the “Gone In 60 Seconds Trilogy”. The previous films include “Gone In 60 Seconds” and “The Junkman”. As best as I can tell, Deadline Auto Theft takes footage from the first film and combines it with new footage featuring Hoyt Axton and a couple of new stunts to create a “new” movie.
In this film Maindrian Pace is again hired to steal 40 cars (or ‘hot ladies’). Unfortunately, this time around he steals the car of the police captain Gibbs’ daughter. Now with a personal vendetta, Gibbs sends every cop in LA to catch Pace and his crew. Hilarity and mayhem ensue.
Deadline Auto Theft is rated PG.
First off, I have to say that figuring this “trilogy” out was really confusing. The documentary on this DVD kept showing scenes from Gone In 60 Seconds, yet it was all stuff I had just seen in Deadline Auto Theft. I was left thinking, “Huh?” Only after a quick check of IMDB.Com did I figure out that Halicki, ever the low budget filmmaker, took footage from his first movie and combined it with a little new stuff for Deadline Auto Theft. There may even be The Junkman footage in here as well for all I know. To confuse matters further, also included on this DVD is the unfinished “Gone In 60 Seconds 2” which is not part of the Gone In 60 Seconds trilogy. More on that later. Anyway, Deadline Auto Theft is more like a special edition of Gone In 60 Seconds than anything else.
Deadline Auto Theft is a lot like a vintage Jackie Chan movie. Plot, acting, characterization, and production quality are all thrown out the window in favor of high intensity action. While Chan specializes in fighting, Halicki specializes in car chases (and crashes). They also have a lot in common because they are real. While Chan does his own stunts, Halicki does his own stunt driving. The result is some of the most impressive car chases you’ll see in a movie. The actors all have close calls as well. Interesting camera angles put you in the driver’s seat of a speeding car flying down the freeway in real traffic. Car after car is demolished in admirable fashion. If you like car chases in movies, this is required viewing.
Unfortunately, the car chases are the only redeeming thing about it. The acting is atrocious and the plot is for nothing more than stringing a few mindless chases together. After watching the documentary, though, I realized why it was so monumentally bad. Halicki’s films are essentially fan films or independent films. Halicki got it in his mind to make a movie with the world’s greatest car chase. Despite having no movie making or stunt driving experience, he rounded up the funds and made the movies on his own. Most of the actors are his friends, family, and co-workers which explains the low quality of acting. Most of the car chases were filmed on the street in real traffic at very high speeds without city permission. Halicki, coming from a car repair background, wrote the 10-page script with no writing experience. In short, it’s pretty amazing he accomplished what he did. He even distributed the film himself. Looking at it from the point of view of it being a fan film of sorts, that makes the horrid parts slightly more bearable.
Notice I say only “slightly” more bearable. There’s no getting around the fact that the movie is bad. I’m talking Mystery Science Theater 3000 bad. The weak excuse for a story makes no sense whatsoever. It’s almost impossible to figure out what’s going on. Since Hoyt Axton (from “Gremlins” fame) is the only professional actor in the movie, he looks even better than he should. Everyone else is just really not very good. Halicki even throws in a Penthouse Pet as Axton’s daughter to add a little sex to the mix. (A later scene with a woman’s wet t-shirt makes me wonder how this film got just a PG rating.) Overall, I recommend simply fast forwarding through the garbage to get to the chases, and even those are marred by constant commentary by police dispatchers. If you saw the remake with Nicolas Cage, though, you will recognize a few similarities in plot points, stunts, and characters. The remake took the few good parts of the movie and expanded on them.
On this DVD, they have remastered the sound and picture from the original print. The final result is a picture that looks like it was filmed yesterday. Fans of the original are going to be stunned by the sharpness and brightness of the picture. The sound is also great on the home theater system. Some of the music was redone so that it doesn’t have quite the 70’s flavor anymore.
This DVD has quite a few extras included:
Gone In 60 Seconds 2 – Halicki began filming this sequel to Gone In 60 Seconds in the 80’s. He filmed all of the action scenes first with the intention of filming the story scenes later. These stunts included a truck chase through the city streets with dozens of cops in pursuit. It also included a new vehicle called the “Slicer”. It’s essentially a car shaped like a ramp. As Halicki speeds towards other cars, they slide up and over the Slicer resulting in lots of destruction. It’s a pretty cool vehicle. Unfortunately, before filming was finished, Halicki was killed in a freak accident on set. A water tower unexpectedly fell and knocked a telephone pole on him, thus tragically ending his life. Now, years later, Halicki’s widow has reassembled and remastered the existing footage into this 34 minute film. It’s essentially one long chase sequence and it’s pretty impressive. The truck chase seems like it’s a precursor to the one in Terminator 2. You can tell it’s patched together in an unfinished way, but it’s still an impressive accomplishment stunt-wise and a big treat for Halicki fans. It makes you wonder what Halicki could have done with a good director, script, and actors.
Introductions by Denice Halicki – Both of these films are introduced by Halicki’s widow, Denise. She gives a little history on the films and sets you up for what you’re about to see. Her enthusiasm certainly rubs off on the viewer.
Car Crash Counter – On each movie you have the option of turning on the Car Crash Counter. As cars run into each other, a running tally appears on the screen. In Gone In 60 Seconds 2 alone, the count runs up over 250 crashes. It’s a fun gimmick, but one you won’t want to leave on for too long.
The Life And High Times Of H.B. Halicki – This documentary originally aired on the Speed Channel and it’s a lengthy biography of Halicki lasting 45 minutes. It’s quite a story. It tells how the man rounded up funds to create his movies and how he filmed and distributed them on his own. It’s amusing to hear how he even sent around enforcers to theater owners who refused to pay him money he was owed. It’s quite a remarkable story featuring his friends, family, and co-workers. It talks about everything from the filming of the movie to his death to the remake featuring Nicolas Cage. Overall it’s a really interesting feature even if you’re not a fan of the movies. It’s definitely worth checking out.
The Bottom Line:
I’d recommend this movie for any fans of “Gone In 60 Seconds”, car chase lovers, or bad movie aficionados. Everyone else will probably want to steer clear of this.