Review of 'The Cannonball Run'

cannonball_run.jpg One of the classic road-race films staring Burt Reynolds that kick-started his career. This is Reynolds at his height surrounded by an all-star cast including Farrah Fawcett, as the requisite love interest, Dom DeLuise, also at his peak playing Reynold's silly sidekick, Roger Moore, playing himself and a caricature of his James Bond film role, as well as a host of others including Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr as a pair of shady characters dressed up as hard-drinking priests in a Ferrari.

“The Cannonball Run” is an illegal road race across the United States from Connecticut to Los Angeles with an eclectic collection of racers driving everything from a souped-up pick up ambulance (the vehicle in the film driven by Reynolds and DeLuise actually was raced in the REAL Cannonball Run), to a red Ferrari and everything in between. This is a character film and it is all about the journey and the bizarre people and situations along the way such as a plane landing on a road in the middle of a town, a pair of well-endowed ladies in a black Lamborghini escaping speeding tickets by showing their cleavage to every cop that catches them, Dom DeLuise's alter-ego the mask cape-crusader “Captain Chaos” appearing to save the day, Moore having a different lady in the car every time we see him as he shares his life story…This is sheer silliness and the cast must have had a ball.

A lighthearted film that is never cruel or explicit despite the highly illegal nature of the race though even this is never shied away from – You are in no doubt of it (though of course, there is never any hint of real physical danger the drivers or those on the road would undoubtedly have faced). Yes, there is a bit of sexism but it is very much tongue in cheek and never exploits. As might be expected, the stunts and driving are amazing in this film despite, or because of, their low budget. It is a classic of the first big road-race pictures from the 70s and 80s though it is not the race itself, of course, but the characters that keep us entertained - These are extremely bizarre people and a the end of the day it does not really matter who wins it is the journey in getting there that is the fun bit. This first Cannonball Run manages to avoid some of the slightly harder-to-take aspects of later films where the sheer lunacy is not so much present.

Great deal of fun and a lot of laughs. Turn off your political-correctness filter (and perhaps your brain), sit back and enjoy a classic road race comedy.


Review Date: 2019-09-15

Directed by: Hal Needham

Studio: Golden Harvest Company

Year: 1981

Length: 95 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure