Other mistake: Watch closely as Investigator Natsuo kicks through the windshield and kicks the villain in the face. The villain's head caves in like it is made of cardboard.
I remember Jay Leno as the king of late show ratings in the mid90s and the first decade of the 2000s, and while he never won critical acclaim for his 'safe' kind of humor and backstage politics who according to many put him over more talented hosts, I always enjoyed his show. This movie has always been something he himself ridiculed, and it's quite easy to see why: by every account is pretty laughable, and not in a good way. Mind you, it's not that he's entirely out of place in a movie that is based on cars (Leno's lifelong passion) nor out of his depth: it's a bit odd actually, because so much of what his character says when the movie gets into political and social statements (America's jobs and the japanese "stealing" them) falls fully into the spectrum of what Leno could choose to make fun of in one of his monologues. At the same time, this project was never going to be a big budget one, as you could expect with a character actor like Morita being pushed into the unlikely role of sidekick/action star (which he performed remarkably, as a matter of fact, given his obvious physical limitations). It had limited funding and talent behind it and reportedly they went out of money and kinda had to wrap it up suddenly, which might be why the script is so unpolished and has glaring leaps of logic and inconsistencies. But it really feels disjointed and messy to begin with, trying hard at 'real' action in a few occasions, including a finale with quite a bit of blood and drama - even if marred by some of the worst practical effects ever -.
At the end of the day, it is a one-star flick for how downright amateurish it looks in structure and in certain scenes, but I can't say I am not fond of it : after all, the benign racism of the movie is addressed not entirely without tact. Sure there are a couple too many jokes about 'chinese take away' and other nonsense, but overall the story is about two characters with their prejudices that learn to greatly respect each other (which is a much more mature view in many ways than completely sanitizing opinions). It has some 'so bad it's good' moments, but overall the comedy is quite lame, and oddly enough it's the characters who can make you care enough to watch it to the end.
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