"Just sit back and leave the reckless driving to us."
With the success of a movie like The Fast and the Furious, and its stylized look at illegal street racing, audiences may have been titillated as to what really happens in this world of high performance engines and scantily clad females. With Mischief Destroy, Rise Above Entertainment offers an intimate look into the "Playersrun Rally," a seven-day sojourn from Los Angeles to Miami featuring really, really phat and really, really cool cars.
Via camcorder, the audience is brought along on the trip, riding shotgun in a tricked-out BMW, flanked by a number of other vehicles: a Porsche, a Ferrari, even a Lamborghini or two. Intermingled with the on-road footage are scenes of car shows, professional racetrack go-rounds, and very, very expensive conveyances spinning donuts in the snow.
It's all fun and games, however, until the cops show…
Facts of the Case
Dustin and Dado represent our official tour guides for the rally, noting at the start the must-haves for any street racer: a radar detector, police scanner, CB radio, walkie-talkie, and a power drink (presumably used to up the adrenaline level, more so once the blue lights flash in the rearview). The duo also note that their BMW was a last-minute purchase, isn't registered, and Dado is driving with a suspended license. Tempting fate is this.
The film progresses through the rally, from California to Los Angeles, as the phalanx of über-cars weaves in and out of traffic. Stopovers for Mardi Gras and a few car shows break up the trip, and give respite to the white-knuckled drivers from the omnipresent police.
Dustin and Dado's camera captures much of the feel of the rally, from the bare-it-all bead-collectors in New Orleans to the gas station pit-stop banter (prominently featuring Danger Ehrin from MTV's Jackass) to the truly intense duck-and-cover tactics from the highway patrol.
The stars of Mischief Destroy are the cops. Without a doubt. As soon as our fearless racers encounter the fuzz, a new level of intensity is reached. It's all well and good watching a Ferrari zip in and out of slower moving traffic (read: 80 MPH or less), but as an audience member, there is a certain amount of detachment. "Ooh, look at them drive fast," Joe Viewer says. "I wonder what that's like."
But as soon as you hear Dustin and Dado shout "Oh $%#&, cops!" the involvement with Mischief Destroy jumps a notch. I felt myself sweating it out, as these guys scrambled to hide.
Take for example when the police scanner reveals that a cop two miles back is in pursuit. This leaves the drivers precious little time to hide—and hide is the only option. Slowing down will do no good, as it's hard to blend in with SUVs and family sedans if you're piloting an Italian sports car with racing decals. Who would have thought that stuffing a bunch of high-priced import cars into dense foliage off of a highway would be so compelling, but it is.
One particular sequence is especially nerve-wracking. Dustin and Dado think they have eluded the cops, only to find themselves pulled over several moments later. The two then scramble and switch seats—to avoid an arrest because of the suspended license—a feat, miraculously, unseen by the officer. Their hidden camera, buried under some clothes, catches all of this, and though the audience can only go by sound, the scene is relentlessly tense. And this is just one example. There are many other moments in Mischief Destroy that lay down the tension something fierce (with the outcomes not hunky-dory all the time, too).
The film is entirely camcorder stock and presented in full-screen. Because of the limited capability of the portable, some scenes, specifically the snow shots, are dark and blurry. A Dolby Digital Stereo mix keeps the sound fairly aggressive. The soundtrack is fitting, various techno loops with some hip-hop thrown in, but can be somewhat repetitive.
The disc sports lot of features, the highlight of which is another scene of police-elusion titled "Run and Hide." Also included are some unused footage, a few stunts, scenes from "Mischief Parties," a German news report, more car show stuff, and some generic promotional items.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
With all my raving about the police scenes, I have to confess that the remainder of the film sandwiched in between is not nearly as entertaining. The entire chapter devoted to snow-stunts quickly grows monotonous, and much of the car-show scenes are uninteresting. As an outsider unknowing of this underground existence, I found myself interested in the small things: how much do these cars cost, what kind of crazy-ass stuff is under those hoods, what's the background on these drivers? I know this isn't a disc one pops in for character development, but a little bit of history would have helped, and made those cat and mouse games with the police even more compelling.
This is a pretty cool deal, no doubt. But the simple fact remains that when these guys (and girls) aren't on the road doing speeds upward of 170 MPH, blowing by semis, driving side-by-side-by-side in two lanes, and going to Baja to escape the watchful eye of the authorities that bird-dog them at every occasion, Mischief Destroy slows down. For a disc about import street racing, this isn't really a good thing.
The Mischief Destroy rad racers are found guilty for felony speeding and putting out a fairly uneven disc that thrills at some points and spills at others. Therefore, all involved with the film are hereby released on probation, and mandated to give driving lessons to Paul Walker and Vin Diesel.
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