Eureka Entertainment is about to release Robert Zemeckis’ 1980 screwball comedy Used Cars, starring Kurt Russell and Jack Warden, on UK Blu-Ray. Part of the Eureka Classics range, this film is considered to be a cult classic piece of film; is it worth the accolade?
Russo (Russell) is an ambitious salesman at New Deal Used Cars, a rundown car dealership owned by Luke Fuchs (Warden). Luke’s rival car lot owning brother (also played by Warden) wants to run him out of business, so Russo gets caught up in a battle he hadn’t bargained for. When Luke dies, amid dodgy circumstances, Russo, and his two friends have to keep the business afloat, any way they can. What follows is an outrageously high octane comedy of epic proportions, this film delivers one impressive set piece after another, punctuated with laugh out loud memorable comic moments.
The story essentially plays like a western with cars instead of horses: two brothers caught in something of a range war, then the fight taken up on behalf of the good guy by the ‘young gun’ type. There is even a tentative love story, with Deborah Harmon (who plays Luke’s estranged daughter Barbara) taking on the feisty female role. There is the occasional heartfelt moment, offering a soft relief from the solid laughs and sometimes black humour which just keep coming. Jack Warden in a dual role is delightful and convincing as ever. Other notable stand out performers in this film include Gerrit Graham and Frank McRae, who play Russo’s companions, Jeff and Jim. There are also a host of future famous faces scattered throughout the cast, a joy for lovers of film and television of the era.
The adult side of the film must be touched upon, as Used Cars comes from an era when cinema was embracing a level of freedom with regards to the wide acceptance of casual nudity and swearing, so this film does have quite a liberal serving of both those things. Initially, it feels a little unnecessary, but it is in keeping with the spirit of the story and style of action: Used Cars could be described as quite a male movie, although this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Laughter is pretty universal, and there are certainly plenty of laughs.
As far as the technical quality of the film goes, it has possibly never looked better. Featuring a clear transfer that looks like it was filmed yesterday, aiding the effect of the many impressive action sequences. A cinematic experience, the overall quality does the film justice.
- 1080p presentation on Blu-ray
- Uncompressed LPCM (original mono presentation) and DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio options
- Optional English SDH subtitles
- Audio Commentary with director Robert Zemeckis, producer/co-writer Bob Gale, and star Kurt Russell
- Isolated Score Track (Patrick Williams score)
- Isolated Score Track (Unused Ernest Gold score)
- “Would You Buy a Used Car from These Men?” – Getting Used Cars made with producer Bob Gale [27 mins]
- Radio Interview with Kurt Russell
- Outtakes and Gag Reel
- Kurt Russell Chrysler Commercial
- Radio Spots
- Stills Galleries
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Limited Edition Collector’s booklet featuring new essays by author Scott Harrison and film writer Phil Hoad [First print run only]
For fans of action comedies, these special features boast quite a few treats and certainly enhance the entertainment value of this release from Eureka Entertainment.
Used Cars is a rip-roaring cult classic that has remained under the radar for many years. Given the fame of Robert Zemeckis‘ more known productions, this film more than deserves to be judged alongside them. Eureka have delivered an impressive package that showcases the quality and provides plenty of extra material.