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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

BORN TO RACE: FAST TRACK -- DVD review by porfle

Racing enthusiast Alex Ranarivelo's BORN TO RACE: FAST TRACK (2014) is the sequel to his 2011 directing and co-writing effort BORN TO RACE, and offers yet more visually stimulating but largely inconsequential auto and racing porn for the undiscerning fan.

Smalltown boy Danny Krueger (Brett Davern) is an aspiring young racer who lucks into a scholarship to a renowned racing academy run by a gruff but caring Corbin Bernsen. Danny's fellow students include two bad-guy Italian brothers named Enzo and Paulo Lauricello, who burn up the track like nobody's business while laughing derisively at everyone else, especially the insecure and inexperienced Danny.

The rest of them are the usual stereotypes such as (God help us) yet another hick Texan, an Asian-American from Iowa who says "dude", and a girl who can race just as good as a guy, dammit. When one of these is injured due to Danny's incompetence on the track and must drop out, Danny is in need of a new racing partner. The only person available, impossibly enough, is one of the bad guys from the original movie, Jake Kendall (Brando Eaton).

Will Danny and Jake learn to forget their differences and work as a crack racing team who'll graduate from Corbin Bernsen's racing academy and have a chance of beating the wicked Italian brothers in the upcoming "big race"?

And while we're worrying about all that, there's (A) the little matter of Danny's girlfriend Jessica (Nicole Badaan) and her pesky desire to go to lawyer college on the opposite coast instead of staying in L.A. with Danny, and (B) the fact that no, Danny and Jake CAN'T learn to forget their differences, which gets them both kicked out of the racing academy and out of the running for the aforementioned big race. Omigosh, it's the dreaded "lowest point for our heroes" part of the plot that we all fear when watching movies like this!

But not to worry, because there's absolutely nothing surprising about the plot of BORN TO RACE: FAST TRACK including the eventual "everything turns out okay just like you thought it would" ending. The story is kept simple so as not to get in the way of the racing fun, as are the stereotypical characters and non-stop cliches. In other words, the plot doesn't advance as much as it's merely checked off one point at a time.

Every scene is edited like an action scene--exposition and character development fly by fast and furious (so to speak) in this baby. It just can't sit still for a second, as though its motor is always revved up and ready for the director to pop the clutch yet again for more vroom-vroom stuff. The movie can barely contain itself long enough to whiz through some rigged up plot developments which, amazingly enough, will somehow allow Danny to enter the big race after all.

The guys who edited QUANTUM OF SOLACE's action sequences into an incomprehensible mess could've learned a thing or two from whoever put this movie's racing scenes together. There's the usual rapid-fire editing here, but compared to QUANTUM's visual confetti, shots are held just long enough--sometimes a mere fraction of a second longer--and linked with enough storytelling skill to allow us to actually perceive what's happening while still being dazzled by the lightning-fast images.

Still, if you want more than just adrenaline-rush racing action, such as a meaningful story and genuine human interaction, you'll have to mine for it here like an old prospector panning for gold dust. The story, as it is, alternates between action and moments of superficial sentiment awkwardly shoehorned in like something out of a low-budget Michael Bay movie. You almost expect the racers to launch into an ear-bending rendition of "Leavin' On a Jet Plane" right before the race.

The DVD from Anchor Bay, which comes in a cool lenticular 3D sleeve, is in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby 5.1 sound and subtitles in English and Spanish. The sole extra is a making-of featurette entitled "Fast Track: Behind the Scenes."

If you stop expecting a real movie and just realize from the start that you're pretty much watching a live-action cartoon, you're sure to enjoy BORN TO RACE: FAST TRACK a lot more. It may not be FAST AND FURIOUS (whose star, Vin Diesel, is humorously name-checked at one point), but at least the auto action and crash stunts are all 100% real and CGI-free. Which should be enough to get some racing fans revved up and ready to follow this flick around the track a few times.

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