DVD Review: Fast Track: No Limits (2008)

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With a Miami Vice styled credit sequence cut to heighten the selling points of the internationally made work as capturing cool on cinema via a hybrid of cars, chases, crashes, and chicks guaranteed to transfer into cash, the film opens as if it were the very same trailer that garnered more than 250,000 views for the Maverick Entertainment release on YouTube alone.

Obviously mistaking the fact that it's supposed to be a movie instead of a NASCAR highlight reel via such a cheesy, self-consciously “straight-to-disc” short attention span style introductory sequence, surprisingly Fast Track: No Limits manages to prove that first impressions can be deceiving indeed.

While it's still the equivalent of a damn good high quality cable television movie, no doubt my appreciation for director Axel Sand's film was enhanced as I'd seen the horrifically bad Dominic Sena version of Gone in 60 Seconds within the past few weeks and once again realized to my dismay how much garbage is unleashed on audiences every year for budgets that could enhance so many lives on a global level.

And admittedly Fast Track borrows heavily from a similar Fast and the Furious meets Italian Job meets Point Break playbook. Yet it earns bonus points for not fixating too heavily on a ludicrous plot by taking the necessary cops and robbers paradigm but pushing it into the background as in the foreground, our central focus is on our against type female heroine Katie Reed (Erin Cahill) who is willing to do whatever it takes to save the only remaining link to the family she's lost since she was a little girl.

Working and essentially living in the garage her now deceased father had created which her brother died racing for in the daily illegal street races, Katie tirelessly devotes herself to saving the place she not only grew up in but became so passionate about cars that she can recognize the make and model by sound alone. While she'll resort to sleeping with a bank employee if she must in order to free herself from debt completely and ensure that her brother didn't die in vain, after she and her team including a younger cousin she looks after put in a full day tuning up engines, she scouts out opportunities and gambles everything she can on those who illegally race on behalf of her garage.

Katie isn't our only feisty and strong-willed leading lady as actress Alexia Barlier has a visible blast playing gorgeous foreigner Nicole Devereaux who married into money and has an arrangement with her husband that she can spend however much she wants and meet whatever needs she discovers (including a new passion for cars and a young pizza delivery driver she recruits) as long as she doesn't leave her meal ticket.

Our main quartet of characters cross paths in a fast-paced beginning wherein Devereaux is pulled over for reckless endangerment and speeding by the handsome detective Eric Visnjnic (Joseph Beattie) whom she's unable to convince to let her off of the hook with her rationale that had she injured or killed anyone, it would've been natural selection of weeding out those too stupid to get out of the way.

With Katie and her coworkers perpetually striving to get free pizza by strategically planning when their tow truck will be blocking his path, the local motor scooter driving pizza delivery man Mike (Andrew W. Walker) finds himself in the midst of more than just another joke when it's Nicole's car blocking his way and as we later discover Katie's boyfriend Eric who sends him flying off the bike while in pursuit of criminals.

Although it's the first times the characters will all intersect, it definitely isn't the last as Mike later “borrows” the keys for Nicole's car when it's in Katie's garage and proceeds to total it while taking part in one of their ritualistic street races-- incidentally the same one Eric participates in to help Katie try to pay off her debt while fully realizing he'll lose his badge if anyone catches him. As the plot circles around the track closer to the finish line when a local mobster and his associates are also tied into the situation, the film continually picks up momentum, only hitting a few speed bumps along the way in some dubious suspension of disbelief moments, some exploitative “sex on the car” sequences and a few instances wherein the payoff feels rushed and doesn't fully satisfy our questions or the dilemmas raised earlier on in the movie.

Despite some of the flaws, they're never enough to make us hit eject and much easier to forgive with the solid production values of the work. And aside from making our female lead prostitute herself out of debt in a rushed yet sleazy moment once onscreen, it's nonetheless refreshingly to find that unlike American movies where we would've just cast her as the feisty girlfriend who stands by her man whether it's Paul Walker, Vin Diesel, Jason Statham, Nicolas Cage or Mark Wahlberg, the film ultimately centers on a strong-willed, independent female with a feisty boyfriend.

Moreover, it's Katie who makes her own decisions, is the boss of her establishment, and commands equal respect among those in the racing industry and her business. While it's admittedly cheesy, I'll take it over Gone in 60 Seconds any day of the week. Furthermore, Fast Track reminds viewers that you can't judge a film on whether or not it receives a big studio red carpet world premiere or a direct-to-disc stateside release without checking out what's under the hood.

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