hotrodbluIn what could have been a series of good SNL skits have been stretched out to 87 minutes full of stunts. Lorne Michaels the producer of ‘Hot Rod’ whom is also known for his work with ‘Saturday Night Live’ can not get an interesting story going fast enough to keep the viewers interest. The problem with ‘Hot Rod’ is that the story contains way too many been there done that elements. The film domestically made a $14 million dollars at the box office with another $17 million dollars in DVD sales. For a film that was panned very hard by critics, it actually has been profitable.

The story of ‘Hot Rod’ revolves around Rod Kimble (Adam Samberg) who is nothing but a lazy twenty year-old with no job or ambition. He rides around town in the slowest moped known to man with his stuntman outfit that also includes a cape. He looks like a goofball riding around town in that moped and gets laughed at by others. He lives with his mom Marie (Sissy Spacek) his stepfather Frank Powell (Ian McShane), and his dorky step-brother Kevin (Jorma Taccone). He has this love/hate relationship with this step-father. You know they are rough with each other due to tough love, but they never make it apparent. It is a respect thing between the two as they physically beat each other up. Rod can never beat Frank, but one he makes it a goal of his to do so.

Rod’s ultimate goal is to be like his father who passed away so many years ago. His father was a famous stuntman that would do stunts like Evel Knievel. He practices all kinds of stunt jumps and runs everyday. Rod only continues to humiliate himself by continually injuring himself when the stunts go wrong. I felt at times like I was watching a high budget ‘Jackass’. There were some funny moments with these stunts gone wrong, but in reality you would be dead especially with the stunt in the opening scene.

The story takes a twist when Rod’s step-father’s health turns for the worse and he needs a heart transplant that will cost fifty thousand dollars. Rod decides that he is going to raise the fifty thousand dollars to help save his step-father’s life. Rod decides to partake in the biggest stunt of his young career by jumping over fifteen school buses. He will not be alone, as help comes from his step-brother Kevin, Rico (Danny R. McBride), Dave (Bill Hader), and the girl Denise (Isla Fisher), next door that he finds an attraction to.

‘Hot Rod’ has its moments with the comedic scenes which help keep the film from totally being a bust. Watching someone get hurt for laughs sometimes can be so wrong, yet we find amusement out of this. The strongest point of the film has to be the soundtrack as there are a lot of 1980’s songs throughout the film.
Movie Content: 2/5

Hot Rod

Print/Audio Quality

The print is presented in 1080p/VC-1 with a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Colors are rather flat lacking any kind of vibrancy. This is one area where I was hoping that the film would redeem itself. Blacks are semi-deep, but are also somewhat flat. Details are pretty good for a print that is lacking in color vibrancy.
Video Quality: 3.5/5

The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix. The soundfield has activity throughout the film either when there is music from the soundtrack or there are motorcycle stunt scenes. While this is not the greatest sounding film, it does a great job with the sound. Dialogue comes through the center channel very clean.
Audio Quality: 3.5/5

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Special Features

  • Audio Commentary by Director Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone
  • Ancestors Protect Me: Behind the Scenes of Hot Rod (7:56)
  • Deleted Scenes & Extended Scenes (14:34) – 15 total scenes with optional commentary
  • Outtakes (3:32)
  • Kevin’s Videos (4:23) – 8 videos total
  • Punch-Dance (1:58)
  • Home video footage of orchestra recording session (1:28)
  • Theatrical Trailer [HD]

All of the special features are presented in standard definition, except for the theatrical trailer which is in high definition.
Special Features: 2.5/5

Final Thoughts:

‘Hot Rod’ is a film that has enough laughs throughout that will keep you laughing. The problem is that the story is not that strong so it doesn’t have the legs to stand up for multiple viewings. The sound and audio is the same as the HD DVD which released towards the tail end of the format. For those that are looking to upgrade you’re HD DVD, unless you absolutely need this on Blu, I would hold off until the price is lower.
Overall Rating: 2.5/5 (Rental)