Dust to Glory is a feature-length documentary chronicling the famed Baja 1000 desert race, which has attracted a different breed for almost 40 years now.div>
Chronicling the history and mystique of the most famous off-road race in North America, Dust to Glory is an action filled feature-length documentary deserving a permanent spot in every motorcycle enthusiast’s DVD library.
But Dust To Glory has been out for over a year. Why are they reviewing it on MCUSA now? Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know its past due, but seeing as how even as I compose this little ditty our very own Editiorial Director, Ken Hutchison, is participating in the 2006 Baja 1000, I figured this would be the perfect time to shine a light on one of the greatest films in the racing genre.
We first encountered DTG a little over a year ago when a handful of our own Baja-bound employees were gathered around a television getting ready to watch this new film about what we could expect during our then upcoming 2005 Baja adventures. Slipping in a preview copy of DTG, 97 minutes later our resident off-road goons were both pumped up and sobered about what they were about to face.
DTG pulls the viewer into the excitement and danger of the famed Baja 1000. Narrated by the film’s director, Dana Brown, there were a couple times when I could’ve sworn Kevin Costner was the plain spoken voice guiding viewers down the Mexican peninsula alongside Baja legends like J.N. Roberts and Johnny Campbell, experiencing all the ups and downs that 1000 miles of Baja throws at its contestants. Brown’s filmmaking credentials are substantial and bolstered by the fact that his father, Bruce, was the visionary behind the film which set the motorcycle documentary standard, On Any Sunday as well as the classic surfing film, The Endless Summer. With DTG, the younger Brown has created a piece of work to make his old man proud.
DTG captures the unique personalities that are drawn to the desert racing scene, zeroing in on Hollywood stuntman and desert racer, Mouse McCoy, who contests the 1000-mile race solo. McCoy, who has a producing credit on the film, is a likeable character and embodies the maverick spirit drawn to Baja. Riding the grueling race solo, you see firsthand the toll Baja takes on mind and body, as Mouse starts to go a little bit loco towards the end – repeating himself over and over during a tire-change pit stop in the latter stages of the race.
The cinematography in DTG is top notch, with plenty of action footage taken on the ground and in the air from helicopters. Not to be outdone by the visual effects, the sound on DTG is also feature-length Hollywood A-list type stuff. In fact, DTG is the type of visual and auditory experience that you would expect to find in an IMAX or stadium-like movie theater, rather than the TV production quality which graces most racing films.
The sensory effects kick into high gear when the racing action starts, and even though the motorcycles fill the screen through most of DTG, the giant bruising Trophy Trucks steal the show when they fly through the Baja course with reckless abandon. In some scenes you almost cringe watching the roaring beasts drifting at high speed through 90-degree turns as masses of local spectators line the course cheering them on. Just a few feet and one driver’s mistake separate the spectators from a horrifying collision.
Nascar racer Robbie Gordon gets the limelight of the non-motorcycle coverage, but DTG also makes sure the other classes, like the buggies and VW Beetles, get their moment in the sun as well. The motorcycles, however, are at the heart of the Baja racing scene and Brown does an admirable job blending the contemporary triumph of Johnny Campbell’s decade of dominance with the exploits of Baja legends from decades past, mixing the old and new into a cohesive narrative.
In case you haven’t figured out by now, DTG gets an overwhelming MCUSA stamp of approval. For the enthusiast DTG deserves a spot on the DVD shelf right next to Faster and On Any Sunday. As always, my biggest test of a motorcycle movie’s greatness lies in whether it can capture the interest of even non-motorcycle fans. In that respect DTG gets an enthusiastic thumbs up given the fact that my true-lovin’ woman, who gets bored to death by most motorcycle-related programming, got so sucked into the film the first time she saw it that when I stumbled across DTG on cable the other night she told me not to change the channel. For motorcycle fans, and dirt riders in particular, ownership of DTG is a no-brainer. Its success as a film is probably best exemplified by the fact that one of the main characters in DTG, race promoter Sal Fish, mentioned the film as one reason why a record number of entries made there way down to Ensenada this November. After a viewing of DTG there’s no guarantee you won’t find yourself down there next November staring down the barrel at 1000 miles of silt and cactus as well.
Let us know what you think about this Product Review in the MCUSA Forum. Click Here