Fans of indie auteur Robert Rodriguez will be delighted to rediscover his ’lost’ 90s gem "Roadracers.".The director’s do-it-yourself style is on full display in this drive-in influenced cheapie; with the lack of narrative depth and professional polish made up for by an overabundance of energetic camera moves and the quip-a-minute dialogue.
David Arquette stars alongside Salma Hayek in this 50s flavored gang warfare picture, originally produced to air on Showtime as part of a series of films designed to invoke the very particular feeling of that era (it’s previously never made it to DVD or Blu-ray, hence its collector status among Rodriguez fans. You can finally retire the beat-up Blu-ray.) It’s all uniforms and doo-wop here, with Rodriguez spending plenty of time invoking sight gags and in-jokes about the culture.
Sure, the plot - about Arquette’s townie characters attempts to thwart local gangs and corrupt police to escape town and become a rockabilly star - is paper thin, and acting is even thinner. But there’s a palpable madness to the film, an emphatic energy in every camera move and cut, which reminds me of Rodriguez at his best. He shot this feature-length film in 13 days, and his speed-demon aesthetic is signed onto every frame.
And as with all his films, the extras are as worthy of your money as the movie itself. There are only two; but they’re invaluable: we got an audio commentary where he goes in-depth about the conflicts and problems he encountered shooting at such a fast clip, as well as one of his ’Ten Minute Film School’ features which this time focuses on scheduling and keeping to a budget during fast shoots. "Roadracers" is no masterpiece. But for fans of the Mexican filmmaker, or also any for any aspiring filmmakers, this disc is a must.