Before filmmaker David Cronenberg’s fascination with the intersection of the biological and mechanical became more fully realized in works like Scanners, Videodrome, The Fly and eXistenZ, he directed this wild 1979 racing flick, set in the gritty world of top-fuel dragsters. Lonnie “Lucky Man” Johnson (William Smith) is a racing circuit pin-up star who sells lots of motor oil for sponsor FastCo. When his car suffers an explosion that upsets the timetable of upcoming races, marketing guru Phil Adamson (John Saxon) moves him to another car, setting off a chain of events that prompts Johnson to start questioning the company’s motives, and taking a more active role in his own professional future. Naturally, this rubs some folks the wrong way.
Cronenberg made Fast Company in between horror hits Rabid and The Brood, and there seems to be a base-level delight in the filmmaking here, even if the execution — functional, but hardly visionary — doesn’t necessarily seem to augur greatness. Genre-bound through and through, with some rote dialogue, trashy subplots and boilerplate corporate villainy, this isn’t the movie for fans only of Naked Lunch or Cronenberg’s more envelope-pushing films. Still, it’s interesting to see Cronenberg work in a more streamlined fashion, and Fast Company also serves as the last film of erstwhile Playboy model and drive-in goddess Claudia Jennings, who would die in a tragic car crash after the movie’s completion.
Housed in a regular Blu-ray snap-shut case, Fast Company is presented here in 1.85:1 widescreen in stunning 1080p HD
resolution on a 50GB dual layer disc, with three audio options — English 7.1 DTS-HD, English 7.1
Dolby True HD and English 5.1 Dolby digital surround EX — as well as optional English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. A thoughtful feature-length audio commentary track from Cronenberg anchors the bonus materials. Also included is the movie’s theatrical trailer, interviews with Smith and Saxon from Inside the Actor’s Studio, an interview with director of photography Mark Irwin, and — perhaps most pleasantly of all — two hour-long short films, Stereo and Crimes of the Future, that are perhaps much more indicative of the future direction of Cronenberg’s work. It’s worth noting, too, that the disc is also enabled for D-Box motion control systems, for those with that capability. To purchase the Blu-ray via Amazon, click here. B- (Movie) A- (Disc)