An attempt to make Bonnie and Clyde with an equal portion of The Getaway landed on video in 1996. An interesting cast with Yancy Butler, Matt McCoy, John Ashton and the late Trevor Goddard keep this from being just another direct-to-video crapfest.
That’s not to say this is some sort of hidden gem. The whole affair falls short of the sum of its parts which is unfortunate. Having watched this when it debuted on VHS I incorrectly assessed it as a fantastic example of top notch direct-to-video fun from the 90’s. However, there are many little issues that spoil things.
Butler plays Francesca, a car thief on the run who latches onto McCoy’s Jack, a somewhat gormless push-over of a journalist as he travels to Vegas on an assignment. On arrival Butler steals a car containing some money printing plates and a bunch of cash. Frustrated by the loss mysterious British villain, Sir Stewart, dispatches his henchman Goddard and corrupt cop Ashton to track them down. An ensuring chase across the state sees McCoy and Butler attempt to escape to Canada with the money, all whilst falling in love, aww.
Where to begin? Fast Money is called Fast Money. Such an unappealing and uninspired title for an action comedy.
The film starts with an impressively over done car chase. Explosions and jumps the likes of which the film cannot maintain for the duration. Whilst the film is not devoid of action after the impressive opening scene, it cannot be matched by any subsequent sequence, especially the climax, more on that later.
Another issue is the complete disregard for the intelligence of the audience when it comes to moving the plot along. In order to track down McCoy and Butler there is one line from Ashton about a tip off he has as to their location. The audience is supposed to accept this and carry on. Certainly, bogging down the plot with details can slow the action, however, there are too many “convenient” moments to ignore.
Thankfully, the filmmakers wisely focus on our four leads for the majority of the film. Whilst I have not seen too much of Yancy Butler in the past, I was impressed by her ability to rise above the script and she was a joy to watch. Butler possesses a fun zest on the screen. A lot of attention is paid to her eyes, that are full of spirit and it helps add weight to McCoy’s Jack falling head-over-heels so quickly.
McCoy is an actor I have followed for years and whilst he is best known for his turn as Guttenberg’s replacement in Police Academy 5 and 6, Fast Money taps into his more sensitive performance from his underrated The Hand That Rocks The Cradle role. I have a feeling that the writers wanted to balance out the characters with Butler’s wild nature with McCoy’s overly cautious demeanour. Certainly works in the confines of the movie, however, should we get a sequel set all these years later, my money is on the couple not lasting more than a week following their escapade.
Running scared of slowing things down, director Alex Wright has decided not to investigate the background and Francesca, merely throwing in a couple of lines about how she continually makes poor choices with men. Adding a little more to Francesca’s back story would have been welcome especially why she became a car thief and being good at it doesn’t flesh that out. Jack on the other hand gets a little more attention with a previous marriage being mentioned and his mother popping up.
John Ashton occupies the role of the corrupt cop Diego and he plays it as Taggart’s evil twin. Borrowing a lot from Marvin Dorfler in Midnight Run Ashton is a joy to watch as he trades insults with Goddard’s propa’ English gangsta’ Regy. Outside of the Bonnie and Clyde story, we are also treated to a buddy movie as the chemistry between the two is easily as fun as Taggart and “Rose…mont” in Beverly Hills Cop. It’s a shame this role is going to go unseen by so many. The recently departed Goddard balances out Ashton’s character to perfect effect and perhaps he isn’t the most talented actor in the film, he is certainly good fun, scary and unpredictable.
Adding to the colourful cast is a giggly Patrika Darbo running a questionable motel and has the hots for McCoy. Little additions like this along the way help forgive any shortcomings and inject some identity for the film. Also the scene feels like a gag on The Getaway’s hotel finale. Buck Flower from Back to the Future has a short cameo as … what else? A Bum! Al Lewis apparently pops up, but I didn’t notice him and Carole Cook has a scene as McCoy’s flamboyant mother.
Of the climax, I had hoped for more. Certainly they have tried to mark the film’s finale and create an exciting sequence, however, it all comes to an end too soon. McCoy gets in on the action instead of putting his head between his knees, there is a helicopter shootout, exciting music and some tense moments as our heroes will make it face off against the the pursing villains. However, it’s all a bit tame and concludes in minutes.
Fast Money isn’t hard to find. I managed to grab the DVD years ago and it does pop up here and there on auction sites. It’s not worth running out and finding a copy. However, it is a fun outing for mindless entertainment with a great cast who seem to be having a lot of fun, maybe even more than the audience.
There are some copies of the DVD available from Amazon, however, the film has not yet been released on Blu-ray or UHD.
Artwork is hardly sensational, but boasts some of the best aspects of the film. McCoy and Butler (in clothes they don’t wear in the film,) leaning against, what might be, a Ferrari Dino (that does not appear in the film,) holding a shotgun (that is not used in the film.)