Story: Ralph (Jurgen Prochnow) is a brilliant engineer who loves to wear cool sunglasses and design cars, with his latest concept garnering a lot of attention. He has been able to harness the power of energy cells to run his new build, a sleek, high performance ride that doesn’t need gasoline. While this is great news for the world in general and certainly the environment, such a concept would be bad for the oil business and those who profit from it. As he has not only figured out the tech but has a working prototype, he is able to deliver the car to a manufacturer, though those who would seek to stop him won’t give up just because the work is done. As forces align to prevent the car from reaching the public, will the oil barons win or will the world finally end its reliance on fossil fuels?
Entertainment Value: This is a wild mess of a movie, with a super convoluted narrative and some odd twists and turns, but I have to admit, Killing Cars aka Blitz kept me interested, though not always entertained. The story tends to lose track of what it wants to do or it throws way too much at the audience, but the latter works out at times. After all, seeing Ralph chased, scammed, attacked, and confused is fun, but when there are oil barons, automobile executives, environmental activists, cops, anarchists, and punk rockers all on his trail, well that’s one of the reasons Killing Cars turns out better than it should have. The narrative is overly complicated and doesn’t really work in most scenes, but it allows for some unintended humor and b movie vibes, which are most welcome here, since this isn’t the most exiting or engaging picture sometimes. The pace can be on the slow side and that isn’t helped by an overly long runtime, so some stretches are rather paltry on good times and even the bursts of b movie elements can’t turn that around. I wish this was a tighter cut with a faster pace, dropping the drawn out portions and focusing on the wilder side of the material. I can’t give this a strong recommendation, but it was watchable and had some moments.
This movie has a large ensemble of colorful characters, but our main role is in the hands of Jurgen Prochnow, who of course, nails the role. Now nailing the role of Ralph might not be a dramatic achievement, but it is a fun performance to watch. Given the erratic nature of the script, you can’t blame Prochnow for his sometimes off kilter work here. I appreciated the overly serious moments and the wild shifts in intensity, as they seemed right in home and in a movie like this. I will say that Prochnow stands out from his costars and that is no small feat, since there some wild, over the top characters lined up behind him here. In the end, I liked the performance for its quirks, rather than in spite of and I feel it adds a lot to Killing Cars. The cast also includes Daniel Gelin, Agnes Soral, Senta Berger, and of course, the great William Conrad.