Born To Race: Fast Track
Undoubtedly, one of the most popular types of films, at least among those won’t post pubescent in possession of a Y-chromosome is the car racing flick. From the pure adrenaline driven action of ‘Days of Thunder’ to the slapstick comedy of ‘Cannonball Run’ men loved to watch this cause push the limits risking death for the drivers and hapless viewers in the cheap seats. If you need further justification of this premise consider the multibillion dollars that NASCAR generates or the ongoing high-octane franchise of ‘The Fast and the Furious’. From a personal point of view, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit that I’ve never been, in any way shape or form, a gearhead. Having grown up in Brooklyn, New York I have always lived only blocks away from the subway and to get to virtually anyplace I needed to buy boarding the correct combination of trains, bearing the proper sequence of numbers and letters. As such, throughout my entire life I have never had the need to obtain a driver’s license and the last time I actually sat behind the real of a vehicle was back in college several decades ago. As such, I have to approach movies such as the one considered here, ‘Born to Race: Fast Lane’, with more the attachment and usually afforded by the majority of men in the United States. More than many low-budget action films, this one has received more than its share of negative reception among the critics. After watching it couple of times I have to come to the conclusion that although simplistic and plot and somewhat superficial and character development, the movie achieves what a car racing movie traditionally sets out to do; provide an hour and a half of excitement as your speaker system, especially the subwoofer, or put through its paces. One piece of advice though it will be get into the exploration of this film is if you’re going to watch it either have your neighbors over for great for they are out of town, it is loud.
Danny Krueger (Brett Davern) is the archetypical protagonist for this genre of movie. Small town boy, with no formal training and racing but who lives for pushing the car and himself to their very limits and then beyond. The primary antagonism between have designated hero and those who would stand between him and success is quite efficiently introduced into the stories. We see a spur of the moment drag race between him and his local rival, Jake Kendall (Beau Mirchoff), managing to be him by expertly navigating a very tricky turn on the highway. It turns out that Danny has received the full scholarship the most prestigious driving school in the world, ‘Fast Lane’. Jake is understandably jealous, but the two have been friendly rivals for most of their lives, and wishes him well. At his party, Danny approaches, Jessica Dalton (Nicole Badaan), his hometown girlfriend who’s about to go off to college to become a lawyer. He gives her a little steering wheel necklace displaying one that he rants himself, citing it how it’s a symbol of their love.
The introduction of the main antagonists is also done quite an expert efficiency, demonstrating a lot of potential talent in the director, Alex Ranarivelo and screenwriter, Steve Sarno. On the way to the Fast Lane facility, Danny notices in his rearview mirror a pair of men in a very expensive car. They proceed to push them into a race and just as Danny starts to fall behind the reaches beneath the dashboard, flips the switch and activates a tank of nitrous oxide. The boost of power pushes him quickly ahead of his rivals, but Danny quickly comes to a stop. Rather than careening through a stop sign potentially crashing into the building just beyond. It turns out that the pair in the car was brothers, who were stars in the Italian racing circuit; Enzo (Diogo Morgado) and Paulo Lauricello (Frezza). They have alternated coming in first and second and most of the races. They’ve engaged in during their careers. They are exceptionally cocky, self-centered, and have a blatant disregard for most authority. The only saving grace is that they are exceptional drivers. Once in the main classroom Danny and the brothers are introduced to their classmates and staff. First and foremost is the head instructor, Richard Duncannon (Steve Bond) and the head of the Fast Lane Racing Academy, Liam Sterling (Corbin Bernsen). Individual students almost secondary to the plot, the story almost exclusively deals with Danny and how he has to overcome every disadvantage he has. First of all, when Duncannon goes around the room listing the credits of the students, each one has won a number of prestigious races around the globe. When it comes to Danny, his biggest achievement is running the high school Road race back home. Even the Stetson wearing cowboy, Luke (Jesse Luken), has an impressive resume. One of the candidates, Markus (Jussie Smollett), snidely remarks, "Someone brought a baby bottle to a cocktail party". Just for little interest in potential romantic triangle, there was one female driver among the group, Michelle (Tiffany Dupont). She has basically been driving since she could reach the pedals winning her first race only days after becoming street legal.
It is pretty ingenious upset this story in the prestigious racing Academy. It gives a valid reason for having highly dramatic, exceptionally competitive races so close together. One of the things that separate the Fast Lane Racing Academy from the others is their focus on teamwork. Each driver is teamed with another one; in order to pass, they both must pass. At of over 3000 candidates only the small group here worthy of admittance. Making this class even more competitive is an once-in-a-lifetime incentive; the top two spots be given a chance to be drivers for prestigious racing team. When the Italian brothers managed to incite Danny’s partner into a dangerous racing maneuver, he suffers debilitating injuries, including a broken leg. No longer able to race, Danny either has to accept a new partner, or wait until the next year and hope he receives another scholarship. The only one who has been on the waiting list several times and happens to be available in close by is none other than his hometown rival, Jake. Complicating matters significantly on the emotional side is Jessica decides to pay Danny a visit. This plot contrivance serves the usual purpose of providing a potential romantic triangle between Danny, Jessica and Michelle.
Both Brett Davern and Nicole Badaan were in the preceding film, ‘Born to Race’. Like that movie. This one is considered by most fans of the category as a knockoff of ‘The Fast and the Furious’ franchise. There is a little nod to this after one overly zealous student holds a maneuver that is both dangerous and forbidden to be reprimanded by the instructor that he will not stand for "these Vin Diesel stunts’. I admit that a line of dialogue like that did increase my respect for the production. He did not make pretenses of trying to outdo the most successful franchise will present itself is anything more than what it is; an enjoyable movie. Good for Saturday afternoon. You might find yourself with your hand on the remote controls volume buttons. The audio track frequently switches between rather quiet dialogue and the overwhelming roar of engines and screeching of tires. Ultimately the film delivers what it promises, which is not an intriguing story, nuanced performances or meaningful character development. You know from the start that Danny will overcome everything thrown at him and emerged victorious. In that respect, this is like almost every sports oriented film ever made were the underdog rises to an unexpected victory.