Co-producer, Jerald J. Silverhardt. Director, Albert Magnoli. Writers, Randall M. Badat, Frank Bitetto. Photography, Tobias Schliessler; editor, David Codron; sound, Michael McRee; music, Simon Franglen; production designer, Steve Geaghan.120 MIN.
Cast: Richard Grieco, Jay Acovone, Shelli Lether, Joe Cortese, Christian Campbell, Brent Stait, Martin Cummins, Wren Roberts, Ken Kerzinger, Tony Romano, Roger B. Cross, Alan C. Peterson, John Novak, James Crescenzo, Suzy Joachim, Venus Terzo, Audrea MacDonald, Michael Philip.
Writers Randall M. Badat and Frank Bitetto supply a nitty-gritty teleplay about an auto racer with a symbolic hyped-up Mustang taking on the reps of the local crime chief in one-on-one tar road races. Director Albert Magnoli works up some tension, despite several worn-out characters; the plot may be familiar, but it’ll hold viewers.
Early dialogue is disposable. Saving grace is Richard Grieco, who commands attention as the David-like Nicky standing up to the stale Goliath of bossman Phil (Joe Cortese).
The plot line hauls in Nicky’s useless older brother Richie (Jay Acovone), who crosses Phil. Nicky, in a hard-to-swallow twist, draws attractive, pliant blonde Sally (Shelli Lether) away from Phil. Badat and Bitetto include Nicky’s father (Tony Romano) in the package, but the role plays like filler.
Death’s around, accidental or on purpose, and Grieco moves smoothly through his paces, while Lether demonstrates plenty of potential for Lisbeth Scott roles. Christian Campbell as Nicky’s mechanic is strong, and Michael Philip as the out-of-town driving menace says lots with no words.
Tobias Schliessler’s camera work is terrif, as is David Codron’s editing. Simon Franglen has supplied a sharp in-tandem score, and Steve Geaghan’s production design is enterprising.