Checkered Flag or Crash Film Details
Overview: Race car driver Walkaway Madden signs up for the big Manilla 1000 off-road race through the Philippines jungle. The photojournalist C.C. Wainwright comes along for the ride.
Tagline: You Gotta Be TOUGH To Win… And CRAZY To Try!
Review: The below commentary on the movie was written by a friend, who caught a Spanish dub of “Checkered Flag or Crash” on Telemundo well into the evening. —————— “Checkered Flag or Crash” is about as bad as it gets. From what I can tell, Joe Don stars as Joe Don Baker, the lovable lunk he always plays. He’s competing in some off road challenge race. (By the way, the lyrics to the theme song for Checkered Flag or Crash, “Checkered Flag or Crash”, has four words – can you guess what they are?) The supporting cast of Larry “J.R. Ewing” Hagman and Susan Sarandon (?!) made it way too fun not to share with you guys. I really don’t think MST3K could have done this movie. They would have choked to death on a combination of vomit and laughter. The movie seemed to be a series of spectacular and more often unspectacular car crashes – mostly stock footage. Essentially it was an hour of the chase scene from Mitchell. There were hilarious moments when the camera was trying to get the natural vantage point of an off road race, but because of the wind all you could see were tires and dust because tree branches covered the screen. It was as if they had budgeted exactly an hour of tape, so everything was done first take and then all this nonsensical stock was added. I think they may have had footage from NASCAR – Joe Don in a jeep, Joe Don in a Jeep, Richard Petty crashes in turn 2 at Talladega, Joe Don in a Jeep… Did I mention that I’m watching all this in Telemundo? The worst were the uncomfortable moments when Joe Don whooped it up after knocking innocent, unassuming competitors into walls, off of cliffs, or out of focus (each ending in explosion and emphatic death). I wonder if in the closing credits they were listed as “Unnecessarily Killed Driver 1-12” The movie ends with a final, triumphant vehicular manslaughter followed by our pudgy hero recklessly and needlessly going at the finish line at full speed with nary a competitor in sight (perhaps there was a time limit he had to beat – I didn’t know and I didn’t care). As the car crosses the line, he loses control, jumps a bridge like KITT (you know, there’s no ramp, but the car somehow becomes airborne), and flips over repeatedly. Four crashes are shown to represent the incident. Note that I didn’t say “four angles”. There were four independent crashes filmed – they physically could not have been the same accident. The best part was that it almost looked like the car was hitting spectators at one point – the over-under on extras injured during filming must have been 60. So as a smoke machine billows and the shocked crowd approaches to ask a) if Joe Don’s character has been killed, b) if the movie is over, and c) with whom should they file their injury claim, our man’s hand eases out the passenger side window and gives the thumbs up. Sarandon shakes her head dumbfoundedly and Hagman is seen racing toward the nearest bank to cash his check before the studio goes under. Then the theme music comes in. “Checkered Flag or Crash”. Absorbing stuff. Since this viewing, I have been reflecting on the three stars: 1) Hagman – Really, between ‘I Dream of Jeanie’ and ‘Dallas’, there was ten years of him doing nothing. I wonder if he did any porn in that time. And I wonder if that would have been a step up or a step down from ‘Checkered Flag or Crash’ 2) Sarandon – you’re kidding me, right? And here’s the weird thing, in this movie she’s probably 20-25 years old, and not remotely hot. I’ve never found her to be good looking, but I always figured she must have gotten in by being hot when she was younger. Not the case. How does she always get guys in movies? Did Joe Don tell her the secret to being a hatchet face that still gets cast as a romantic lead? Which brings us to… 3) Baker – How the hell did he get lead roles? And how the hell did he always get a romantic partner? Was he a sex symbol in the 70s? He wasn’t attractive, he had no charm, and his characters were horrible people. His movies seem to be ninety minutes of him getting the crap beat out of him until he finally kills everyone else. Do you realize this was like casting Drew Carey as the lead in ‘The Fast and The Furious’? And finally, what did it take to stop a movie from being produced in the 1970s. This budget couldn’t have exceeded thirty thousand dollars. The major special effect (used with great frequency I might add) was dust. I figure the only significant costs must’ve been the wrongful death suits by families of extras.
Country: United States
Duration: 95 min
Genre: Adventure, Comedy
Also known as: High Gear,Crash,Checkered Flag or Crash,Percorso infernale,Pykälä silmään ja pellit kasaan!,Killer 1000,Cross Country Wreckers,Loucos Sobre Rodas,Los salvajes de la pista,Hilia milia thanatou