Gone in Sixty Seconds [2000]

When car nut and aspiring B movie maverick H.B. "Toby" Halicki released his debut film, he gave top billing to his car, a yellow 1973 Ford Mustang named Eleanor. That's a good indication of Halicki's priorities in the original car-crunching, tire-squealing drive-in classic Gone in 60 Seconds. Halicki wrote, produced, starred, and did all of his own extraordinary stunt driving in the picture, the story of a career car thief who makes a deal to steal 48 cars for an overseas smuggler. OK, it's not Shakespeare. The plot is perfunctory at best, and Halicki's all thumbs when it comes to directing his wooden cast, but he gives a crash course in the mechanics of the car-theft biz and tops it off with one of the greatest car chases of all time: a 40-minute finale that roars through five Los Angeles-basin towns and destroys 93 cars in the process. It's a masterpiece of stunt driving, down-and-dirty photography, and sharp, furious cutting; the unsung hero of the picture is editor Warner Leighton, who paces the film perfectly and never lets it stall. Forget the messy Nicolas Cage in-name-only remake, this is outlaw auto cinema at its purest. --Sean Axmaker

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