In 1989 H B Halicki was trying for a come back. He spent the last several years buying up hundreds of cars – yeah you read that right, I said hundreds. The plan was to do a sequel to his first movie and greatest success, Gone in 60 Seconds – but this time bigger and better. Halicki boarded a semi truck and proceeded to crush dozens and dozens of cars on camera before bailing out the driver side window and making his escape on the feet of a helicopter while the semi pile drove straight ahead into a water tower.
He got as far as shooting the first big stunt, but the water tower fall went wrong, cutting a cable which knocked down a telephone pole – right onto Halicki himself. He never made it to the hospital and was pronounced DOA in the ambulance.
I feel a little devastated to discover this man’s demise, despite being 30 years removed. I love that his wife gathered up enough money, enough crew and enough leftover cars to complete the second chase and then, patching it together with footage from the original Gone in 60 Seconds created a short feature, about 30 minutes in running time, which is essentially just one long car chase that crunches over 250 cars in its path of devastation. There’s very little in the way of plot or dialogue but it’s a fitting eulogy for H B Halicki, encompassing his love of the chase, his love of car crashes and his aspirations cinematically. It would be after this was released that his wife would then collaborate with Jerry Bruckheimer to see the Nicolas Cage remake done, forever immortalizing Halicki’s story with a more mainstream audience.
This short film is available here and there, I’ve seen it occasionally on YouTube and manage to score a copy in a “Fast as Hell” DVD collection of Halicki’s films at the dollar store. It’s worth a watch, if for no other reason as a epilogue to this remarkable man’s career.
Of all the marvel cinematic universe shows, the two that I have been looking forward to the most were Loki and What If?. I’m still sad that Loki was such a disappointment, but so far, What If? has fared much better. The thing that strikes me so much about it though is it’s very MCU. This is not merely pulling random marvel characters and doing an imaginary story, this is laser focused on reasonably prominent MCU supporting characters and very interested in re-creating scenes from some of the great Marvel movies -largely fro phase one. The attention to detail is beautiful, the actual actors of been brought into voice their character is wherever possible, and I never feel like I’m looking at a generic re-creation. Backgrounds look like they’re straight out of the films. The costume design still has a very Marvel cinematic feel. I’ve had some people tell me that the animation is a little off-putting, particularly around the eyes. I find that interesting because to me it’s perfect. It actually reminds me a great deal of the animation style used in the MTV Spiderman cartoon that took place between the first and second Raimi movies (It’s underrated, and doesn’t get nearly enough respect. Bridged that gap, and added a great deal more depth to those films. We could’ve used another season in between two and three for that matter!).
There’s still some politically correct elements in here that we probably wouldn’t have paid nearly as much attention to five years ago before The woke went on steroids. I’m perfectly willing to give that stuff a pass… Captain Carter has no real heroes journey, but her strength isn’t at the expense of Steve Rogers he still gets to be a hero and sacrifice. His character is very evident in What If?. There’s some opportunistic journalists right now capitalizing on saying T’Challa is a better star lord than Peter Quill, but he’s really not. He’s just different. A different focus, and apparently Black Panther has a Secret power that everyone just automatically likes him. They should really make that a thing, like X forces domino having a knack for things just naturally falling into place. Then again, Quill starting off being flawed and learning to be a hero was the entire point wasn’t it? If anything, that robbed T’Challa of any character development or heroes journey.
Episode three benefits greatly from being able to showcase most of the original MCU Avengers as well as being focused and voiced by Samuel L. Jackson. There’s an interesting twist that just touches a bit on the later films, but for the most part is still heavily rooted in the early and best of the MCU, something that’s really appealing.
All in all though, I think I’m enjoying what is the most of all of the MCU TV series, and I hope it keeps up the quality. It’s fun, it’s episodic, and is really exactly the sort of thing that I’m looking for… A chance to dip my toe in the Marvel universe, without having to commit to three hours, and whatever her social agenda is fashionable this week.
Next week I really ought to catch up on StarGirl.