STUDIO: Buena Vista
MSRP: $29.99
RATED: R (for no good reason)
RUNNING TIME: 83 Minutes


"It’s like taking Romeo and Juliet and then
photocopying it alongside The Fast and the Furious, and then
photocopying the photocopy, and then photocopying that, and then getting all ‘creative’ on the result."


Gilbert Chavarria, Calvi Pabon. (Both of whom
might want to change their names, now.)


Roger Corman, he who is set to watch over
independent cinema, presents the story of young
Reno, an
impoverished car enthusiast who finds himself embroiled in the seedy side of
street racing and disorganized crime. He makes himself some enemies, scores
himself some cash, and falls for the sister of the aforementioned enemies.


How bad, exactly, do you imagine this will be? Expectations
do not form a viable basis for criticism, but they can occasionally function as
a shorthand. For example, from the artwork, the obscurity, and the lame title,
I’d hazard a guess that you either:

aren’t reading this because you don’t trust your cunning CHUD staff to make crap
reviews entertaining, or

b) you
think that Asphalt Wars shows off a level of talent that even its meager
budget overvalued. B is a good choice. What sucks for me is that now I have to
tell you why, in three easy steps.

Case study number one: in the first impromptu race
of the film, our protagonist grits his teeth in great concentration, the sound
of his motor humming all around him, his eyes on the finish line — while
through the rear window we can see that he seems to be parked, motionless, in front of a
brick wall. The acting really sells the scene.

Warp nine, Mr. Nastygram!

I think it’s gaining on you.

Case study Nummer zwei: The primary conflict that
our hero faces is convincing his uncle that he’s a big boy, now, and deserves
his car back. The range of emotion displayed in
these tantrums is staggering. As an added bonus, the car is invested with serious metaphorical weight.

Case study numero tres: These are the women the
filmmakers could afford.

No, not them.

I don’t get it.

This would be a great place to be pithy, I guess: Asphalt
contains zero-percent redeeming factor by volume. Don’t watch it
unless you’re related to the director, and even then I bet you’d have about as
much fun as you would have watching aunt Nanner’s slideshow of her trip to the
ice cream social. It’s trite, ugly, and effectively mute.


There is a void.

2 out
of 10