By Richard Winters
My Rating: 8 out of 10
4-Word Review: Minis are very durable.
A middle aged man named John (Tony Barry) whose wife has just left him and an unemployed nineteen year old named Gerry (Kelly Johnson) come together through circumstance and trek across New Zealand in a yellow mini while desperately trying to elude the police.
The film has a wonderfully carefree approach and anyone who has ever wanted to ‘drop out’ or stick it to authority will most assuredly enjoy this. There are some clever chase sequences involving the mini with the best coming at a Wellington shopping center. There are also a couple of good running bits including a stressed out vacationing couple dealing with their noisy kids and police officer doing a sexual role playing game with his wife while on duty. The vast age difference between the two main characters is refreshingly different from most ‘buddy’ movies and Johnson, as the younger one of the pair, is excellent. He shows a lot of star making appeal and it is amazing that his film career never flourished. Claire Olberman is gorgeous as a hitch-hiker that they pick up along the way and she closely resembles 80’s adult film star Stacey Donovan and it is a real shame that she doesn’t stay with them throughout the entire film. I also must mention the music score, which has a nice distinct quality to it.
On the negative side I felt Barry in the role of the middle aged man was a little too laid back in his performance. He needed to show more stress and tension, especially when he is put into such crazy and hectic scenarios. I felt his mellowness hurt the film’s believability and even to some extent the excitement. The ending is not very satisfying and seems like the screenwriter wrote himself into a hole that he didn’t know how to get out of. The police are made to look too hopeless and helpless and the film goes overboard in its attempts to mock them.
Despite some flaws this is a road movie the way all road movies should be. It is fun and engaging and will bring out the free spirit in anyone. Although small the minis are a durable and fast car and this film makes prime use of their abilities almost as well as the original The Italian Job did. It also features some great stunt work that most viewers should find impressive.
My Rating: 8 out of 10
Released: February 6, 1981
Runtime: 1Hour 45Minutes
Director: Geoff Murphy
Studio: Greg Lynch Film Distributors
Available: VHS, DVD