The opening car-chase cuts to a billboard: "This is God's Country...Please Don't Drive Like Hell Thru It." A chain-smoking rummy, Dude (David Arquette), waits in the dark, flashes his hot-rod lights, and forces the pursuing squad car to crash into the billboard. Thereby satisfied, Dude power-cruises to a bar just in time to meet his pouty girlfriend, Donna (Salma Hayek), and watch a rock & roll band. It's the first in a series of clashes between the righteous Dude, his nemesis (Jason Wiles), and the law--a B-movie plot given a kick by the protagonist's ingeniously cool evasive actions.
The trademark hand of director Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi, Desperado) is felt throughout Roadracers (1994), his high-octane chapter in Showtime's "Rebel Highway" series of '50s teen-melodrama remakes. Rodriguez loves to play with camera speeds, turning even a standard fight-sequence device like a thrown ketchup bottle into a tension builder as the glass crashes very slowly and spills blood-red on poor Dude's head. Or this quick-cut, would-be throwaway scene: Dude repeatedly dipping his hand into a grease jar and smoothing it into his pompadour. Why? Because later that evening at the roller rink, he smears his head on the floor in mid-skate, leaving a slick trail that trips up his rivals. Sadly, Roadracers' climactic race turns into a drag by culminating in a routine bloodbath--but it sure was a fun ride.