Patrolling the California highways that run to Las Vegas, Billy Baxter (Stockwell) is frustrated with his pokey cop car that won’t even go a third as fast as the sports cars that rule the roads. The new captain isn’t interested in stopping the speeders, and he thinks that Baxter is on some kind of vendetta to find the driver of a black Porsche that ran his brother off the road and killed him. When Billy goes on a 200 MPH joyride, that is finally the last straw and he loses his job. Creditors and his wife’s divorce settlement are both closing in on the former cop as a DEA agent approaches him to go undercover to bring down the “Banzai Runners” who the agency suspects is running cocaine in their car. Along with his nephew Beck (John Shepard), they infiltrate the culture finding it mostly populated with spoiled boys with fancy toys, but their path finally leads them to the drug dealer Syszek (Billy Drago), the proud former owner of a black Porsche.
Make or Break: Banzai Runner is broken, and what got it that way is the slow, slow pace. The subject matter at hand was fast cars, and the film only manages to deliver three high speed chases, one of which is not really even a chase. I needed to feel intensity from Stockwell. He was supposed to be a man driven by revenge, but he mostly seemed to be driven by the desire to not lose his home. Banzai Runner spent too much time exploring nothing, and not enough time making me give a damn.
Score: 4.25/10.00 This is for die hard car nuts or Stockwell completists only (I know somewhere out there someone loves Dean that much.) For anyone else, there are better car movies, better loose cannon cops, and better movies in which to enjoy Mr. Stockwell.