Review by Mark “Hollywood” Jarecki 45Q -
I’m happy to write this review on this very well done Dana Brown, (Step into Liquid) IFC piece on the Baja 1000. “Dust to Glory” is no doubt a “In the front seat” day and night balls to the wall off road racing action movie. “Dust to Glory” takes you thru 1000 miles of desert hell and amplifies the basic sense of achievement when, man and machine have a thousand miles of desert ahead.
“Dust to Glory” is the real deal and is no doubt a fantastic racing flick about the Baja 1000 and what it takes to endure this most physically changeling and extreme off road race, perhaps, in the World. It runs about an hour and a half featuring the likes of Robby Gordon, helmet cam man Mouse McCoy, (who Co-Produced), Johnny Campbell, past superstars, and present day million dollar corporate rides. Mario Andretti is also briefly present; giving the Baja some consideration but happens to run out of gas in his trick truck.
“Dust to Glory” opens with some general info and history on what the 1000 is all about and right away you can tell this DVD is a keeper. There are the Motorcycles, Pro trucks, Quads, Unlimited, and even a 60’s something Volkswagen beetle making their way across the unforgiving desert. I learned some of the pros do a pre-race ride; others show up and simply take off into the unknown. 25% of the entries won’t make the halfway point.
There are some amazing and frequent video shots from the roving helicopters in the air and awesome camera work on the ground. Turn up the Surround Sound too, the audio is 5.1 and first rate. “Dust to Glory” features a few different riders and their progress. You get to see some very serious hard core racing, especially towards the end. Side by side, flat out as fast as you can go stuff. Oh, and then there is the night. Still flat out, darkness doesn’t slow the top racers. It’s insane. Mouse McCoy makes the inhumane 1000-mile trek by himself, no partner, no co-driver, just his support team and some broken ribs to boot, brutal. Something I didn’t know, officials don’t shut down local traffic for this event either, and occasionally, motorcycle “A” meets farm truck “B” and the results are less than desirable. Here you are introduced to the ‘Weatherman”, a radio operator who job it is to relay bad news from the highest nearby mountain. Even the spectator lined pit areas are way dangerous and there are trucks flying by at 80 MPH only feet away from the fans. One fellow is captured running for his life, whoa…!!
There is a lot going on in this DVD, and almost too many people to follow, but, like I said, the action is awesome, just pay attention. It’s the Indy 500 of off road racing crammed packed in 90 minutes of adrenalin on a disc. It surely gets the juices flowing. One air scene follows a motorcyclist who leaves the main course and hits the beach at 100 MPH trying to catch his opponent. The video here is outstanding and really captures the essence of what Dana is trying to do. My wife watched this with me as well and later proclaimed with sincerity, “You can tell ‘em I liked it too.” Enough said.
The only downside of the movie is a slowdown mid-way thru with some interviews, which get a bit long but soon enough the pace picks up and we’re back to racing. Some of Dana’s critics knock his California deadpan narration but it was fine with me. There are also some special features and deleted scenes included on the DVD.
Having said that, “Dust to Glory” is super all the way around and is as near to being a major motion picture of racing as you can get. In my opinion, it rivals “On any Sunday”. I give this DVD a top rating of 5 spark plugs.
Review by Randy "Mr." Smith #24 -
If you loved watching “On Any Sunday” from the 1970’s, you will love this film “Dust to Glory”. Bruce Brown filmed “On Any Sunday” and now his son Dana Brown is making films with the same kind of feel updated with trick helicopter shots and on board cameras. It is extremely well done.
Dust to Glory is all about the Baja 1000 race held along the coast in Mexico during the month of November. The Baja 1000 is wide-open 1000 mile race across the worse possible conditions you can imagine. Not only do you race at speeds well over 100 MPH you are trying to miss rocks, bushes, drop off’s, and sand washes. If that wasn’t bad enough you are also trying to miss the local people who go backwards on the racecourse and shoot across your path and booby trap the course of change its course markers. The course uses open desert and paved public roads open to the public. This is a race that can and will kill you if you make a mistake. With 1200 entries, 32-hour time limit, 200,000 spectators and no price of admission to watch, it’s an unreal thing to imagine.
The Baja 1000 started way back in the 1960’s and still going strong today. Any vehicle can enter so you have Dirt Bikes, Quads, Trucks, VW Beetles, Dune Buggies and even some crazy home built machines. You leave one at a time with a start time given so you are racing not only against others in your class but the clock itself. To finish at all is a victory let alone in the 32-hour time frame allowed. Most are teams that trade off drivers along the way. There are chase trucks that try to position themselves along the way to help refuel and fix flat tires and broken things and believe me, there are plenty of broken things. The cool thing about this film is it has never been filmed and documented in this way. 50 some cameras were used and over 250 hours of film were edited down into the best 1-½ hours you can imagine. There are racers that you follow through this event, which was described by race legend Parnelli Jones “It’s like a 24 hour plane crash”.
You get to see Mario Andretti as Grand Marshall, Malcom Smith giving rides to the local kids. How about JN Roberts now age 62 who won his first Baja on a dirt bike back in 1967 and went on to win 27 in a row? Six time winner Johnny Campbell going for win #7. NASCAR driver Robby Gordon returning to his roots in a trophy truck. Then there is Mouse McCoy who is attempting to ride the complete 1000-mile torture test solo on a dirt bike in less than 18 hours. (You have to see the wild look in his eyes). There are so many stories within a story the movie keeps you on the edge of your seat.
I would highly recommend watching this film. Just like the legendary movie “On Any Sunday” that gave motorcycling a shot in the arm 30 some years ago, “Dust to Glory” left me with the feeling of I want to go out and do that. I have watched the film twice so far and plan on buying myself a copy, as I don’t see how you could ever get tired of watching it. Both times I watched it, I was left wanting more. With DVD’s having special features and deleted scenes, it only adds to the fun by allowing you to do just that. You have to see the part where a cameraman on a dirt bike rams his hand into the rocky side of the course. His hand is broken and you can hear his pain yet he continues to ride for 12 more hours, Unbelievable commitment.
I give this film the highest rating of 5 Spark Plugs.