Race the Sun

"Movie Magazine International" Review

(Air Date: Week Of 3/27/96)

By Alex Lau

I've come to the conclusion that just about anything can be made into a movie. Want to make a movie about a new teacher who takes plucky kids from a lower-income neighborhood and molds them into a successful team? Sure, we'll make "Dangerous Minds" or "The Big Green." Want to make a movie about crossing the Australian outback in a bus? Well, we'll throw in a cross-dressing theme and make "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert."

Here's a challenge. What about banging your Bud Light on the table and doing a movie with both plucky kids *and* crossing the Australian desert? All right, sure. Throw in an annual solar car race, and you've got "Race the Sun."

Halle Berry, who is brightening up half the movie screens in the country right now, plays the young English teacher who gets stuck teaching a science class in a lower-income Hawaiian high school. The kids call themselves "low-lows," which indicates both their perceived place in society and their chances for betterment. For their science project, they decide to put together a solar car to go against the local preppy school for the right to compete in the grandmother of all solar car races across the Australian desert. You can pretty much guess what happens from then on.

Director Charles Kanganis, whose resume includes "Three Ninjas: Kick Back," does a halfway decent job, given the subject matter. The kids are mostly pleasant, there are a few cute gags, and Halle Berry is stunning as usual. James Belushi is thrown in to add a bit of sexual tension, but since this is a PG-rated movie, that doesn't go anywhere. And whose idea was it to use James Belushi for sexual tension, anyway?

Based on a true story, "Race the Sun" is a inoffensive little family film that didn't really need to be made, and very few people will seek this one out. But if you get stuck watching it, it wonąt make you race to the exits.

Copyright 1996 Alex Lau

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