In 2015 — remember when — the US government outlawed gasoline, only allowing the elite, the military and law enforcement to use it. No one is allowed to own or use a car and those who go against the law are called Burners, who are policed by the DVC (the Department of Vehicle Control).
Red (Darren McGavin, Carl Kolchak himself) is a Burner who loves his 1980 Trans Am. His son, Cameron, has no interest in cars and continually gets upset at his father for breaking the law.
Another Burner is working with a Senator to make civilian use of cars legal again, but as he’s on his way, a DVC squad led by McBain (Doug McClure, SST: Death Flight, TV’s The Virginian) intercepts him. Dolan, one of the crazier DVC members, blows the guy up with a grenade launcher. Shana, another team member, is upset about this and how the matter has been handled.
Red keeps trying to get Cameron into cars, including having him watch a race between him and Indy, a Burner who races a Mustang. But Cameron is more into Indy’s daughter Jill, who shows him how to drive a dune buggy. While the two older men race, they run afoul of the DVC.
Cameron and Jill have better plans — they go to a barn to have sex. Of course, the DVC attack them, kicking Cameron’s wimpy ass and stealing Jill. It’s up to the two Burners to save her.
Shana helps them out and Cameron and Jill use Red’s Firebird to drive the Senator to the meeting while Red gets to know Shana better.
Is it a coincidence that this Canadian movie — and the Canadian band Rush in the song “Red Barchetta” — both created a world where racing cars were illegal?
This movie never gets as good as the poster. Or as what it should be about. That said, Darren McGavin does this material a favor and seems like he’s having fun. It’s an interesting concept and I wish it had been better, but there you go. As Orange Goblin says, “Some you win. Some you lose.”