Speed Kills: The Definitive Review of the Don Aronow Biopic with John Travolta
This is a true crime film, but the biggest crime in this sorry excuse for a film was the script. The writing was even worse than the special effects, which is saying a great deal. What is sad, is the real story of Don Aronow, is truly a fascinating one, even if you don’t care about the history of performance boats at all. Aronow has a story worth telling, and worth telling right; this film is a mockery of film, his family, and his legacy. The story is so incoherent, I don’t think Don himself would have been able to follow what was supposed to be happening.
If you’re brave enough to watch it, I recommend preparing for the worst. Don’t waste your time though. I wish I volunteered to move heavy furniture for complete strangers than watch that film; If I’d known how bad it would be. Maybe if enough of us get together, we could start a class action lawsuit against the filmmakers for wasting our time.
The boats in the film are not period correct at all, and even though that would be really difficult to pull off, I don’t mind a bit of trickery, but there was almost no effort at all to feature any boats, or even talk about any of the boats. I actually don’t even mind the idea of a Pantera posing as a retro Cigarette, but most of the boats were comically out of place. I can’t remember any specific examples because I tried to erase the experience from my memory. Considering Don Aronow shaped the boating world by creating the most recognizable brands in history; it seems shocking there was no coherent reference to Formula, Donzi, Cigarette, Squadron 12, or Magnum Marine. There were a few passing comments, but nothing that made any sense.
As far as the script and the acting, it was hard to tell what the hell was going on half the time, and I know the story reasonably well. I can’t imagine an unknowing person coming across that film. Speed Kills wasn’t even entertaining from a story perspective. There was absolutely nothing redeeming about the film. I can’t really blame John Travolta either, I don’t think he had anything to work with; he’s probably a decent actor. Maybe they should have focused on one aspect of his story, and kept it coherent, instead of trying to tell the whole story, but missing the essence of what he did.
The shame is that since the story has been told now, but badly botched, it has almost zero chance now of being picked up by serious filmmakers. This fact is truly unfortunate, because it is a fantastic story about an incredibly innovative guy who in fact shaped an entire industry. The drama, politics, and excitement of the story were not done justice here, and maybe damaged the story forever.