A bunch of eccentric racers compete in an illegal race across the
United States where the winner takes home a million dollars.
The Cannonball Run (1981)
Directed by Hal Needham
Written by Brock Yates
Starring Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Farrah Fawcett,
Roger Moore, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Jack Elam,
George Furth, Jackie Chan, Adrienne Barbeau,
Jamie Farr, Terry Bradshaw
The Cannonball Run is a movie that absolutely could not be made today, but still has a sort of early 80's charm that you can't find in films these days. The premise is simple but effective, a sort of PG-rated Death Race 2000. While the screenplay isn't particularly amazing, the cast's delightful chemistry and the wide variety of eccentric and memorable characters more than make up for it. It's a great buddy comedy for Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise, plus you get to see Roger Moore play an inflated version of himself complete with James Bond's car.
The idea of an illegal race across the country has the potential to bring in the weirdest characters from all corners of the world, which is exactly what this film does. It doesn't shirk on the oddball factor, bringing in an Arab sheik, a Japanese computer car driven by Jackie Chan, and an international super spy pretending to be famous actor Roger Moore. The constant racist remarks and casual insults make the film feel kind of dated, but the remarkable stunts have held up over the years.
The Cannonball Run is a fun little movie that any action fan would enjoy, particularly if you're a fan of films like Bullitt or the old Wacky Races cartoon. There's a bit of a pacing problem and not all of the characters stand out as well as the others, but the film has enough going for it that it remains entertaining nonetheless. It made me laugh and the stunts impressed me. What more could you ask for?