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Car: Road to Revenge, The
File The Car: Road to Revenge under sequels pertaining to franchise naming rights got on the cheap, because really who was looking for a sequel to the semi-obscure '70s cult 'classic' some 40 years later? Who indeed? Primarily dudes surfing Netflix in the middle of the night, I'd gather. To that end, if you can't sleep you could find worse ways to kill 90 minutes than watching this daft, CGI-gory action/sci-fi bit of clap-trap. Which, in the ancient parlance of DVD Talk, means you can cautiously choose to Rent It.
The Car: Road to Revenge gets off to a cracking start as vengeful (yeah, you heard me) District Attorney Caddock (Jamie Bamber) is making a name for himself by convicting weirdo human traffickers and other losers, and delighting as they're executed right there in the courtroom by contained explosion. Nanny State, for sure. Unfortunately Caddock has also lost some important data, highly sought after by a gang of unsavories comprised of cos-players and '80s rock star cliches, lead by an all white super villain. There's Ozzy Osbourne with a mechanical middle finger, Adam Ant, Wendy O Williams, and more.
You can't make this shit up. But someone (or three) did, anchoring their story with a gruff, rules-breaking cop by the name of Rainer (Grant Bowler) who has taken it upon himself to protect from the rock stars Daria (Kathleen Munroe), the object of Caddock's unwanted affections. If that's not enough, Caddock's brand new 'black luxury sedan' (The Lazarus) elects to go on a killing spree too.
In other words, you really shouldn't venture into this movie expecting to be challenged, nor should you expect to be thoroughly entertained. No, your sights should be set on not being terribly aggravated or insulted, and man, those evil gangsters will give you a real run for your money, especially the man in white, who is the living embodiment of nails on a chalkboard. On the other hand, Bowler and Munroe crank up a fair amount of chemistry and verisimilitude for their cliched roles. There's plenty of bloody action and thrilling car chases too, as the Lazarus crushes skulls (or explodes them) with wild abandon, and performs one bit of stunt driving that on its own almost justifies your rental fee.
But really, don't actually rent The Car: Road to Revenge unless you can find it for 99 cents, or for free on a streaming service, as its melange of nonsensical plot, cliched dialog, and irritating characters marks it as a bit of a chore to sit through. But, for brain-dead entertainment value, and especially if you like dystopian car-chase movies full of CGI gore, and for the purposes of our ratings system, I will cautiously advise you to Rent It. (But not really.)
The Car: Road to Revenge travels the highway to hell in this 480p MPEG-2 transfer, presented in a 1.78:1 ratio. The image is about as crisp as you'd expect a DVD to be, which increasingly is not enough, and is not served well by the darkness found throughout. Shadowy details are just OK, if not non-existent, and the stylized color palette tends toward the gray and gritty.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 Audio Track tends to load much of the action and dialog front and center. That said, the dialog is clean and clear, and not in competition with the soundtrack. The dynamic range presented stays firmly planted in the mid-range, which is of course a little disappointing.
No extras are on hand.
The Car: Road to Revenge continues the storied tradition of resurrecting gory car-chase movies as represented by the endless stream of contemporary Death Race sequels. Only in this case, the movie is chock-a-block with irritating characters, nonsensical plots, and cliched dialog, making it a chore to sit through in order to enjoy the squelchy bits and the title character's sometimes delightful killing methods. Rent It if you can find it for less than a buck.
- Kurt Dahlke