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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Cars > Speedo - A Demolition Of Love (Docurama DVD)

Speedo – A Demolition Derby Of Love (Documentary)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+     Documentary: B-



In the 1970s, the idea of the demolition derby was very popular.  A set of car keep crashing into each other until only one can still drive and function.  That has been the idea behind recent “robot” contest battles and as Jesse Moss’ documentary Speedo – A Demolition Derby Of Love (2003) shows, is a sport that is still very alive and well.


Speedo is not the brand of swimwear the contestants are suddenly wearing to sex up the sport, but the nickname of one of the most talented and prolific drivers in the sport today.  Ed “Speedo” Jager is an ace at smashing all the other cars to smithereens and surviving, something he does so much, it is now affecting his two-decade-old marriage.  He also has an older son who is in a Punk Rock band, which throws him off a bit, but he intends to continue trying to pursue that relationship along with his obsession.


Though its 78 minutes holds some things we have seen before, few works in dramatic or documentary features ever deal with the poor and struggling hardly ever since the 1980s, as if being poor was someone’s fault.  Here is someone working hard and still hurting.  His socio-economic class affects his life, no doubt, but he has a dream and that is something fewer and fewer people seem to have these days.  The poor did not suddenly disappear when Reagan became president and this sport’s very existence is now like a dirtier version of the X games, as well as a survivor of the late industrial age.  Speedo makes you think of The American Dream, how it has changed, never was and never will be.


The 1.33 X 1 image is shot on NTSC video and looks good for its age, but has all the usual limitations.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 is simple stereo, combining for a good-enough presentation.  Extras include an audio commentary by director and star, previews for other Docurama DVDs, stills, deleted scenes and updates.  The commentary is not bad, but I wish a third party were there to ask questions.  Otherwise, all is definitely worth a look.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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