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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Movie: Dust to Glory

Posted on Thu, Apr 21, 2005 at 4:00 AM

***
Our Rating: 3.00

Surfers' advocate Dana Brown (Step Into Liquid) is slightly less smug when he's documenting a sporting endeavor in which he has no especial personal stake – here, the 2003 Baja 1000 off-road race. But aside from the lessened condescension in Brown's voice-over narration, he's still capable of envisioning a feature-length, theatrical-release doc as nothing more (or less) than a segment of ABC's Wide World of Sports writ large. Hyperbolic cheerleading sets the pace for a movie that's an adrenalized jumble of pedal-pumping driving footage and puffed-up personalities – most of them pilots of the cycles, buggies, VWs and other vehicles we see kicking up Mexican sand on the way to the finish line. Close calls with pedestrians and other moving targets play up the absurdity of an internationally renowned race that can nonetheless be brought to a standstill by antsy traffic cops. Forget about narrative cohesion and dwell on Brown's winning way with night-vision cinematography and the almighty hood-cam. Or you can count the hackneyed time-lapse shots he throws in whenever his visual imagination fails him – which is about three times too often.

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