ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Film Review: The Cannonball Run

Updated on October 25, 2015
Film Frenzy profile image

Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.

Background

In 1981, Hal Needham released the comedy film, The Cannonball Run. Starring Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett, Dean Martin Sammy Davis Jr., George Furth, Jackie Chan, Jamie Farr, Terry Bradshaw, Mel Tillis, Adrienne Barbeau, Tara Buckman, Peter Fonda, Jack Elam, Rick Aviles and Alfie Wise, the film grossed $72 million at the box office. The sixth highest grossing film of 1981, it was followed by sequels Cannonball Run II and Speed Zone. This film and the first sequel were Dean Martin’s final appearances. It also won the Golden Raspberry for Worst Supporting Actress in the way of Fawcett.

Synopsis

Race car driver J. J. McClure and his mechanic counterpart Victor Prinzim participate in the Cannonball Run, an illegal race that spans the United States, in a van modified to be an ambulance. To serve as the real deal, they hire a doctor and kidnap a reporter to serve as a patient while dodging the arsenal of tricks the other drivers have in their way.

Review

Though it can be considered quite the guilty pleasure, The Cannonball Run, isn’t a spectacularly bad film. It’s actually pretty fun with a many humorous moments and a decent story, even if the characters are pretty flat.

Though not a spectacular story, the film does have a pretty good plot to it, even though most of it centers on events that happen during the race and not about the actual race itself. In fact, a good chunk of the film is spent on introducing the characters and setting up the race, which doesn’t actually start until a third or halfway into the film. However, there are some pretty good scenes that are presented here. One that’s very notable happens to be the fight scene just before the climax where all the racers are waiting for the road to open up and get into a brawl with a gang of bikers. What really makes it is that it solidifies the already presented notion that all these racers are actually on good terms with each other and that there’s no bad blood between any of them, making the whole race just good fun. It also really helps that Sammy Davis Jr.’s character once again finds a phone to check out the odds.

Those moments also lend themselves to some pretty humorous situations prevalent in the film, even in areas where there would normally be a lot of tension, like the truck jumping the train scene. And there’s always every appearance of the Chinese team, especially when they drive by a couple of cops in a speed trap. Both acknowledge that they don’t know what they’ve just seen, but it’s going about 90. And they decide to just sit there. More humor comes from how J. J. and Victor decide that they’re going to use an ambulance when they’ve decided against a lot of other vehicles. They’re distracted by girls on a boat while they’re on their way to the starting line. The ending is also pretty funny in one of those boneheaded ways, presenting the final appearance of Captain Chaos saving a drowning dog, thereby costing Victor and J. J. the race. What makes it funny is how the character is oblivious to anything around him and thinks that saving said dog is the only thing that matters in the world.

Humorous Stupid Good Captain Chaos aside, while there are fun characters in the film, they’re all pretty much one sided and flat, carrying a blatant gimmick to make them stand out as funny. For one, there’s Jamie Farr’s character, who doesn’t get a lot of screen time to begin with. He’s a wealthy Arabian sheik who will win the race, even if it means he has to buy it. And while he’s got great potential as a character, it’s a shame that he’s not on screen enough to do much with it. Likewise, even though we’re given some characterization into Martin and Davis Jr.’s characters (Jamie Blake and Morris Fenderbaum), all we really know about them is that they’re crafty at trying to dispatch other characters and figure out what the best odds on the race are. Not too much more than that with them. Yet, it must be said that one of the best characters in the film is Seymour Goldfarb, Jr. a man played by Roger Moore who thinks he’s Roger Moore. And so he acts like James Bond throughout the film. Or at least, an embellished interpretation on Moore’s take on the character.

But that’s what gives it its charm. It’ll earn three stars and a recommendation to try watching at least once.

3 stars for The Cannonball Run

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Alphadogg16 profile image

      Kevin W 

      3 years ago from Texas

      I haven't seen this movie in forever and was a nice review/trip down memory lane Film Frenzy. I was just watching Trading Places the other day and had'nt seen that one in a long time either. Thumbs up on your hub.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)