Safari 3000 (1982)
No stranger to car racing films, David Carradine suits up once again for a cross country race titled the African International Rally.
This time out it’s not of the Death Race 2000 variety but shoots for a few laughs. Limp though they may be it’s all harmless fun. Besides that it has Christopher Lee in it so I’m good to go.
Carradine is supposed to be a driver in the race for Lee’s Count Borgia but they don’t quite get along and David’s out of a job. Not for long when Playboy Magazine writer Stockard Channing shows up looking to find a driver for her wreck of a race car and get her into the Rally.
“I’m a real Burt Reynolds.” Carradine tells her as he proves to her he is no slouch behind a wheel. Now they need an engine for her wreck. Sir Christopher just might have an extra one lying around that David can snag while Stockard keeps Lee busy. To see Lee attempt to seduce Stockard without the Dracula appeal is kind of fun.
As a matter of fact if you are a fan of Lee’s he’s the whole show here and one wishes he scored more screen time. He’s humming opera in his wonderful baritone while at the wheel of his car and pointing out how many languages he’s fluent in. If you know anything about Lee, he’s injecting some personal traits into this film where he comes across as a mustached cartoon character who isn’t above setting traps for the other racers. Quite often these backfire on him and his comically inept assistant Hamilton Camp. His get up echoes Darth Vader behind the wheel of a matching car.
Lee would turn up in an equally bizarre outfit opposite Carradine in a 1979 flick I can never get into called The Circle of Iron despite a great cast dropping in for a succession of cameos.
With Carradine and Channing sitting side by side over 3000 miles were bound to have some romance. How about a rainy mud hole for some fun and games?
Then of course there’s the beauty of the wild animals that frequently turn up on the dirt roads through the African villages. We get elephants, giraffes and a nice bit where Carradine finds himself surrounded by lions while changing a tire.
This is really just another poor man’s variation on the Cannonball Run style of film without the star power and utter waste of the talent involved in those two films that went along way in sealing Burt’s fate. It was filmed entirely in Africa at various state parks listed in the closing credits. I hadn’t seen this since the VHS hit stores way back so it’s nice to see something like this turn up in the MOD market from MGM.
For those looking to solidify there Lee/Carradine collections it’s a welcome surprise.