Finally those fruity beach kids start to grow up a little bit! This movie is a strange departure from the previous happy-go-lucky tales of Frankie and DeeDee on the beach. In Fireball 500 we find Harvey Lembeck not playing Eric Von Zipper, but instead playing a booze smuggling rabble-rouser who gets into a bloody brawl with Frankie Avalon. The beaches are replaced by dusty back-roads, the playful chicken fights with crashed cars and homicides, and in the strangest twist of all, Annette Funicello winds up with Fabian, and Frankie winds up with a blond who actually puts out for a change. Although at times it is hard to buy Frankie Avalon in the role of the "tough guy" he really did seem to give it his all. For all it's faults, most especially it's "Scooby Doo" style ending, Fireball 500 is something of an improvement over the previous flighty beach films.