Well, I prefer this dragging with great writeups rather than a short “this car wins because it is red”.
Los Angeles, California, 1987
“Cruel Summer” by Bananarama plays during a panning shot from the Santa Monica Mountains to downtown, including passing through the scaffolding of the in-construction US Bank Tower, ending at the UCLA quadrangle. Credits play on the screen:
and Luis Guzman
in a Blaine Shack film
… … … … … … … … … … … …
(about halfway through the film)
Jennifer slowly rolls her car down the ramp into the dry riverbed - headlights off, as requested by the anonymous call. Barely able to see the outlines of a few vehicles, she only stops once she hears a shout:
“That’s enough. Get out, keep your hands up!”
Jennifer and Brenda slowly step out of the convertible, remembering to turn it off, but not the radio. They step out into the darkness, with the only sounds being Sandra’s “Little Girl” playing softly behind them, and the rumble of a large engine in front of them.
Suddenly, three sets of blinding headlights shine on them; they try to cover their eyes. As their eyes adjust to the light, they begin to see a stout Hispanic man in a Hawaiian shirt and white suit leaning against the front of what looks like a bright red tank… they realize it is not a tank, but rather a large armored truck. His head barely reaches above the tall hood. The truck is flanked by a black sedan on each side… burly men in black suits stand by each, rifles at the ready.
“Buenas noches, chicas… I see you were wise enough to follow my instructions.” He says in a thick accent. He smiles, the light glinting off a gold tooth.
“You like?” he gestures to the truck behind him. “The STAG MTMWV, he says, slowly parsing through the acronym. Bulletproof armor, nearly military specification. Only one of two in the whole state… the governor has the other one.” he stands up a little straighter and flattens his lapels. “I trust you have what is rightfully mine?”
Brenda backs up and pulls the black leather briefcase from the backseat of the convertible. She slowly moves back next to Jennifer, sitting the case in front of her.
“You have my brother?”
“Of course, of course… I am nothing if not a man of my word.” He says with a smirk. He snaps his fingers and one of his men wrestles Jason, bound and gagged, out of the back of one of the sedans. The grunt brings him up next to the boss, rifle poking the square of his back. He looks terrified.
“I trust you know who I am?” he says, casually producing a chrome-plated Desert Eagle pistol from his jacket pocket. Brenda grimaces and Jennifer shakes her head… they obviously do not keep track of cartel current events. He looks genuinely disappointed. “No… never heard of Don Domingo Garcia? Butcher of Tijuanna? The coca whisperer?”
“Are you the guy from Zoot Suit?” spouts Jennifer, unhelpfully. Brenda turns to her and mouths “Shut up!” but Domingo’s mouth is simply agape, unable to form a coherent response. He furrows his brow and turns to his grunt with the gun to Jason’s back. Suddenly, his accent entirely disappears. “Do you believe kids these days?” The grunt shrugs. “All this intimidation showmanship - the accent, the tooth, the gun, this monster truck… all so some racist pendeja can confuse me with a Broadway fop.” He motions again and the grunt puts Jason down on his knees on front of him. He turns back, addressing the girls.
“Doesn’t matter… all you need to know is I’m serious. Slide the case over here, and your disloyal small-time dealer of a brother might just live.” Brenda crouches down and slides the case over to them; one of the mooks quickly picks it up. Don then racks the slide of his pistol causing Brenda to shout out “You said you woouldn’t hurt him!” Don simply smiles. “I lied.”
Everything turns to slow motion as he raises the gun to a few feet behind Jason, pointed square at the back of his head. The bridge of “Little Girl” plays… “doo-do-do-do, do-doo-do-dooo, ba-da-buh-doo-dah, dooby-daww” and the gun fires. Jason falls to the ground. But… he groans and whimpers in pain. The don merely hit his shoulder.
“Oh man, that was supposed to kill you.” says Domingo. One of his mooks interjects: “I think you may have warped the barrel from the continued use at the range, sir.” Domingo squeezes his eyes shut to avoid yelling, and says, dripping with sarcasm. “Thank you Paulo, how very helpful of you.” Domingo reassess the situation. “No matter… boys, take care of them all. make it clean… and fast.” The girls go wide eyed and the don turns back, and struggles to climb into the drivers seat of the STAG. He roars off, yelling from the window “Adios, chicas!” The truck rumbles off, the whistle of the turbo adding to the noises of the engine, dirt and gravel spraying in their faces.
The three mooks approach, guns pointed at each of the girls who are slowly backing up, terrified… one pointed down at Jason, still writing around in pain. Suddenly, a shot rings out from the dark, and one of the criminals collapses…
… … … … … … … … … … … … … … … …
(near the end of the film, at the climax)
… Domingo in his STAG is hot on the tail of the girls in the front, and Freddie in the back of the convertible. His mooks are not far behind. They are whipping down the winding mountain roads of and around Mulholland Drive as Kim Wilde’s "Kids in America" blares from the tinny speakers - the sole damage to the car so far has been a gunshot straight into the stereo, keeping it from being turned off. Jennifer is driving erratically, zig-zagging back and forth, dodging the gunshots from the mook in Don’s passenger seat. Freddie is trying to shoot back but is being tossed around in the small back seat. “Can you steady this out, PLEASE?” shouts Freddie. Brenda tries to pick shortcuts and sharp turns to outrun the clearly faster STAG. The weak four cylinder and automatic of the convertible are no match for the huge power of the STAG, no matter it’s weight. They slide around a hairpin turn - Domingo just cuts it off, running through the brush effortlessly, crunching down shrubs and small trees beneath the massive skidplate. The girls cut down a driveway into a dirt road beneath the pilings for multi-million dollar modernist mansions - the STAG just mows over a stone wall. Only when Domingo glances off the steel support for a house does the STAG waver, if just for a moment. But soon it is right on them - he smacks right into their back bumper, crunching the rearmost few inches and shattering all of the rear lights.-Fortunately, Freddie finally manages to get a good shot, a hole right through the hand of the passenger mook, making him drop his pistol down the steep cliff on the side of the narrow dirt road. His howl of pain cannot be heard over the rev of engines.
“Make a left here!” shouts Brenda as the dirt road makes a T with a paved one, choosing to continue downhill. The STAG collides with their bumper as she makes the turn, causing them to perfectly oversteer, and the don to collide with a dirt incline. They gain some ground as he backs up, ripping grass and plants from the dirt under his front bumper. Soon enough though, he catches up to them as they tear down a long straight. “I have an idea!” shouts Brenda. In the distance, she sees a the remnants of a guard rail at another hairpin turn, at the top of a steep cliff. Someone had torn through before, leaving it in tatters without many easy to see reflectors. “Do you trust me?” she says to Jennifer. 'With my life." she smiles back. “Go into the corner full speed - I’ll handle the rest.” “Hold on!” she shouts back to Freddie.
Jennifer does as told, clearly heading into the turn too fast - but Brenda pulls the handbrake, the car sliding backwards and stopping right around the corner, the back tires hanging over the cliff. Don Domingo is not so lucky… he sees the turn too late, and turns the STAG so tight it flips on its side, rolling through the gap in the guard rail, flipping over numerous times down the side of the mountain. Jennifer regains a steady heartbeat, and manages to pull the convertible back onto the road, turning it around.
Freddie cimbs over the rear of the car, and the girls step out. They walk to the cliff-side and look down to survey the wreckage of the STAG. It has collapsed on its roof, halfway down the mountain.
“He could still be alive?” poses Brenda, more a question than a statement.
The three look back at the wreckage, with a pregnant pause. Jennifer speaks back up: “Funny, in the movies, that’s usually when something explo-”
The STAG explodes into a huge ball of fire, singeing any nearby plants and undoubtedly sealing Domingo’s fate.
“There we go.” remarks Freddie.
The three turn around as they hear another car pull up behind them… it is a black Tevian sedan - and two of the don’s goons step out of it, guns drawn. But they lower their weapons with a quizzical look as they hear the crackle of fire. They step towards the cliff, and peer over the edge, seeing the STAG ablaze. Knowing their boss is no longer there to protect or punish them, they glance at one another and slowly back up to the car, locking eyes with Freddie. They then climb into the car, fire it up, and reverse up the hill, not saying anything to the girls or the private detective. Once they disappear from sight, the sound of sirens can be heard in the distance as The Bangles’ “Hazy Shade of Winter” begins to play. The camera pulls upward as Freddie lights up a cigarette, showing the sunrise over Griffith observatory, with police cars and ambulances racing up the mountain… and the credits start to roll.
Alight everyone, that’s a wrap. A huge round of applause for @Mikonp7 and their STAG MTMWV Civilian. There were many excellent cars but I think if you’ll read through the scenes you’ll understand why it ended up as the best choice, a character unto itself. But a big pat on the back to everyone for staying with this challenge for nearly two whole months. I look forward to whatever comes next.
I have a concept i would like to try, so give me a few days to whip something up