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 demanding but disposable. Saving grace is Richard Grieco, commanding attention as the David-like Nicky against the stale Goliath of Phil (Joe Cortese).
Plot line hauls in Nicky’s useless older brother Richie (Jay Acovone), who crosses Phil. Nicky, in a hard-to-swallow twist, drawing 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 a simple filler.
Atmosphere is laid on thick as director Magnoli explores big city corners.
Death’s around, accidental or on purpose, and Grieco moves smoothly through his paces, while Lether demonstrates plenty of potential for Lizabeth 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 camerawork 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.