The Cannonball Run - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Cannonball Run Reviews

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½ November 3, 2014
The Cannonball Run (1981)
Rating: 0/5
If you took "Death Race 2000", took out all of the blood, all of the nudity, made it unfunny, boring and only had the racing begin halfway through the film you would have a pretty awful movie. Well, 1981 brought us just that! "The Canonball Run", a lousy, offensive comedy that shows that just because the stars are having a good time, it doesn't mean that anyone else will. The film is about a cross-country car race across the United States, where teams of two or more racers compete for no prize at all besides bragging rights (how exciting!) The team we're supposed to be cheering for is J.J. McClure (Burt Reynolds) and the sidekick he has abused into submission, Victor Prinzim (Dom DeLuise). Every team has to have a strategy to avoid getting busted by the cops during this outlawed race so these guys come up with the actually pretty ingenious idea of empowering what looks like an ambulance with a powerful motor. To make the ruse more authentic, they hire an insane doctor, Dr. Nikolas Van Helsing (Jack Elam) to stay inside the ambulance if they get pulled over. Against the heroes are a slew of wacky racers, including Jackie Chan and Michael Hui as Japanese drivers with a high-tech car; Jamie Farr as an Arabian Sheik; Roger Moore as what is either himself, a Roger Moore impersonator, or a man named Seymour Goldfarb who is a secret agent, an assassin and a philanthropist who also acts in films under the pseudonym of Roger Moore; Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. as two drunks pretending to be catholic priests, two spandex-clad hotties who seduce their way through their speeding tickets (played by Adrienne Barbeau and Tara Buckman) and more. Because J.J. is a nearly psychopathic horn-dog, he and his team also kidnap an airhead tree hugger they brainwash into calling herself "Beauty" along for the ride (Farrah Fawcett).
This film was an absolute chore to watch. It's extremely predictable and further hindering the movie is the fact that we do not see our protagonists race until 42 minutes into the movie. I've forgiven films for starting up slowly before because they were setting up a big story or developing the characters but everyone here is a one-joke paper cut-out that isn't the least bit exciting. Burt Reynolds is a player who always has one eye on the finish line and the other peering down the shirt of every girl in the vicinity. Dom DeLuise is an idiot with a split personality that we're supposed to love because he was a kind heart and is the constant butt of jokes. I hated the both of them... almost as much as Farrah Fawcett's character Beauty. She literally gets kidnapped, drugged and dragged across the United States against her will and barely protests. When her character is introduced, she's a total ditz, meant to be sexually ogled by the audience and the people in the film and it gets really old really quickly. At first, the film threw me for a loop. When she is introduced, she comes off as the kind of person who would be against an illegal car race because she's hanging out with some hippy stereotypes with sticks up their butts. I figured she would be somehow roped into joining the race and would argue with J.J. constantly until they inevitably fell in love. "At least, (I thought to myself) she isn't a dumb, ditzy blonde that joined up with the level 3 vegan assembly without knowing what she was getting into. If that was the case, she would be too stupid to argue against J.J. and would, as the film goes along lose more and more clothing to make her an obvious sex object". Just a few scenes later and we can see her wearing a white sweatshirt and no bra underneath, ready to be fooled by the dumbest lies and convinced to abandon her name because of J.J.'s charms.
Forget that the characters are bland and that the film is boring, the least it could do is be either funny or charming. It's neither. It plays like an inside joke between this group of friends that are having a great time and don't care who they are alienating. It's like everyone was having such a good time they didn't realize how downright offensive the movie gets. Take for example the introduction of the "Japanese Team". They cast Jackie Chan, who is Chinese, as one of the racers. As for his girlfriend, "the top movie star of Japan", she's clearly Filipino and is described as appearing in many Godzilla movies. We've got the broadest stereotype of Arabs in the form of the Sheik, several jabs at Jews and we're supposed to let it slide because these actors were having a good time? I rolled my eyes at the endless Roger Moore-James Bond references. We get it! You played 007! Can we move on? Yeah, Adrienne Barbeau and Tara Buckman are attractive, but they don't do anything with these characters. I would have laughed hard at an obvious joke they SHOULD have done, which was see these two being held up for a half hour while a particularly frisky state trooper insisted on strip-searching them after they attempts at seducing him. That would have been clever though and there's nothing clever in this movie.
I didn't absolutely loathe this film as much as I did say... "Freddy Got Fingered" but I cannot think of a single thing that was good about this movie. Some people would say the stunts and yeah, a couple of them are good but the terrible fight choreography edges that out. I found it unimaginative, offensive and worst of all completely boring. I cannot think of anyone I would ever recommend the film to so I have to be honest and give this film a 0 / 5. Don't watch it and stay away from the sequels, which I hear are even worse. (On Dvd, May 8, 2014)
September 26, 2014
C+ = Slightly Above Average
September 18, 2014
The greatest movie ever made, even greater than "Citizen Kane," and I'll tell you why. First, "Citizen Kane" did not have Dean Martin and Sammy David Jr. in it. Second, "Kane" did not end with a hilarious blooper reel. "Citizen Kane" < "The Cannonball Run."
July 27, 2014
One of the funniest comedies I've seen of all time and it still holds up! Cast-full of well-knowns of the era that never go dull.
July 1, 2014
Oh my words ~?
April 9, 2014
This star-filled race extravaganza, is JUST ok. Seems to be one big in-joke party of all of Burt Reynolds' friends. Not really worth your time.
½ March 30, 2014
Not considered great filmmakimg. But I have always enjoyed this period of Burt Reynolds Films. Just Burt having fun with his friends.
March 3, 2014
A Classic that I loved as a kid and can still enjoy now, with a great cast of old favorites
½ February 4, 2014
Harmless Car-Chase Fun That Is Now Considered Classic 80s Fodder That Showered The Screens In Days Gone By..
January 2, 2014
Love this film. Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise are brilliant together. Being a car obsessed kid of the 80's and the Lamborghini Countach being my ultimate car I just had to love this film. The star studded cast are superb. The out takes are fantastic at the end too
December 26, 2013
Saw this movie as a kid and remember really having a great time at the show. I wanted to revisit it, but now after reading some of the reviews...I'm afraid!!!lol
½ December 15, 2013
I've seen this many times, not the best film, but has several laughs, most of which are from Jack Elam. There's some great cars and tons of stars, it's Jackie Chan's first big American film as well. It's not for everyone, but I enjoy it. ever
½ December 9, 2013
The Cannonball Run is a relinquishment of cinematic accountability. The actors make no attempt to earn their paycheck, and the filmmakers make no attempt to make even a good stupid movie.
November 26, 2013
Good ol' drinking and driving and racing and just a bit of racism.
October 26, 2013
This film for me is an antidote to other predictable comedy films like Caddyshack as even though it is as predictable as always it at least has more fun whilst doing it. With many inspired actor choices including Chan who even though only comes on screen once in a while is hilarious as the stereotypical technology crazed Hong Kong racer. This is grade 'A' farce in its most brilliant of forms, fast cars, comedy and fun will ensue from this timeless classic!!! (p.s. the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow driven by Jamie Farr is my favorite of the cars racing)
August 7, 2013
The Cannonball Run is a fun and entertaining little adventure full of car races, wacky characters, and humorous dialogue. If you're expecting a deeply emotional ride of extreme stunts and romance than this movie is not for you. Its much slower and laid back and is almost self aware. It doesn't take itself to seriously and that's what I really love about this movie. It stars "Burt Reynolds" and the late "Farrah Fawcett" in this goofy little race movie. Its about a race from New York to California in which bending the rules is implied. At the time, its full of famous celebrities that today's audience might not be to familiar with but as it seems they all have wonderful chemistry on camera and everything just fits wonderfully together. The characters have so much life and pep with themselves it seems like they are all really enjoying themselves in this film and that's one of the greatest things this movie has going for itself. Everything comes off as laid back and genuine, everyone is having a good time and it really comes off into the audience. The scenes are completely insane, they get so reckless and desperate to come in first place. Its hilarious, and good old fashioned family fun that everyone can enjoy. Its not a bad movie but really enjoyable and entertaining. See this one with the family and you wont be disappointed.
½ July 29, 2013
A cast of Hollywood stars of the 70's involve themselves in an illegal race across the states. If you don't like a movie with too much plot but loads of action and mindless fun , this is a good movie to watch. Full of hot babes and cool cars!.
June 15, 2013
An assorted group of celebrity misfits team up to compete in 'The Cannonball Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash' a non-stop, 'anything goes' and thoroughly illegal road race from America's Atlantic to Pacific coastline.

stars Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Dom DeLuise, Farrah Fawcett, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Jamie Farr, Jack Elam, Adrienne Barbeau, Terry Bradshaw, Mel Tillis, Jackie Chan and Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder.

directed by Hal Needham.
June 12, 2013
I like the part where Burt Reynolds calls Sammy Davis Jnr (dressed as a Priest) a "Chocolate Monk" or any scene involving Jackie Chan playing a "Japanese" Racer.
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