the most entertaining aspect of the mockbuster genre is the way they named their movies. knowing someone made movies named the da vinci treasure, alien vs. hunter, i am omega, transmorphers: fall of men, sunday school musical, the day the earth stopped, paranormal entity, battle OF los angles, or almighty thor and release them on the same week of their big budget counterparts is usually more fun than actually watching said movies. there’s also the fact that most of the mockbusters are only similar to their hollywood equivalences in name only. transmorphers is more of a matrix rip than the expected transformers. 200 m.p.h. at first doesn’t seem like a mockbuster, but knowing asylum, it took me about 5ive seconds before i realized it’s their version of fast five. the major clue is that they were both released during the same week.
what sets 200 m.p.h. apart from other mockbusters is that the title is not a variation of the mockee. it actually works to their advantage in this case since the fast furious series has had some of the most retarded titles in cinematic history, playing with numbers as letters and definite articles. if i were a gearhead, i would be offended by the illiteracy while i’m working on my car 2F/se7en.
directed by veteran stuntman cole s. mckay and written by someone named thunder(!) levin, 200 m.p.h. actually starts out promisingly. an older brother who’s into cars is killed in an illegal street race and it’s up to the younger brother, who’s the first in his family to go to college, to avenge his older brother’s death, through what else but illegal street racing.
the family dynamic in the first f5ve or so minutes is about on the same level as the fa and fu series, mostly because the originals aren’t that great to begin with. i do find it pretty funny that the older brother and the mom look about the same age. they live in a pretty nice cul-de-sac suburb house but apparently the mom works as a stripper. there’s also an uncomfortable joke from the brothers semantic-ing about their mom being a stripper/exotic dancer. it’s along the lines of the stewardess/flight attendant, doll/action figure, purse/carry-all jokes in sitcoms. but hey, in asylum films, you’re happy as long as there’s some kind of attempts, even though it may be gross.
things go downhill slowly but steadily. since the surviving younger brother(played by jaz(!) martin) is more of the jake gyllenhaal type, there isn’t really a vin diesel type in the movie (interestingly, he’s about as effective in the movie as paul walker). there is, however, a michelle rodriguez-esque mechanic who’s really good at tuning up cars. though her sketching ability is at about elementary school level, the drawings nevertheless impress our younger brother protagonist. there’s also a corrupted cop played by paul logan from mega piranha and the terminators. unfortunately, there’s no kicking in this movie. the movie doesn’t really pay much attention to him, so we shouldn’t either. jaz also has a girlfriend who doesn’t want him to race. oh, and by the way, she’s a stripper, er…exotic dancer too. in fact, she works at the same club as jaz’s mom. this leads to several weird scenes of jaz visiting both his mom and girlfriend at the strip club. also like the fa-fu series, the villain is the neighborhood drug dealer who’s into illegal street racing.
the first act would actually fit right in with the fa-fu series. unfortunately the second act gets boring with jaz going back and forth trying to decide whether he should race or not, while we all know that the film can’t end without a race. much like fast f5ve, the film wisely cut short the actual racing scenes. though they probably didn’t expect that fast5 would turn into a ghetto ocean’s eleven. knowing the asylum, they probably did it out of budget concerns. the racing scenes are pretty hilarious (with numerous scenes shown repeatedly and showing cars going fast by simply speeding up the shots) though they are nowhere near the hilarity of mega piranha kicking. the lack of budget and action sequences is made up by barrages of t&a, which the fa/fu series lack, mostly due to the desire to be pg-13. you win some, you lose some. between my apathy for most of the fast and furious movies and the knowledge of the asylum’s body of work, 200 m.p.h. is just about as mediocre as its inspiration.
200 mph is currently available on netflix instant, and dvd.