‘Smash: Motorized Mayhem’ is For Auto Racing Fans, and That’s It

GameStop, Inc.

Smash: Motorized Mayhem

The wheels on the bus go round and round in Smash: Motorized Mayhem, the documentary from director Kevin J. Burroughs. In Orlando, Florida, Burroughs has set his camera on the world of high-speed bus racing that occurs at a track in the sunshine state. As the folksy narrator calls it, this is a “redneck rodeo” of beat up school buses barreling down the track, smashing into one another along the way. The mechanical chaos of Smash: Motorized Mayhem is likely only to appeal fans of auto racing, as it’s a rather dry documentary that is merely concerned with the surface level lunacy of its chosen subculture.

In the days leading up to the world championship of school bus racing (how there can be a world championship when the sport seems entirely localized in a single Florida track is never explained) the film follows a number of drivers in their preparation for the big race. There’s a brief history as to how this form of auto racing came to be, but for the most part Burroughs is interested in the personalities behind the wheel.

One of the drivers, funnily enough, is a school bus driver in his day job, and Burroughs robs his film of momentum when following him on day of work. Another driver, a rockstar in this tiny world, is the track’s mechanic. Smash takes the time to look at the difficulties that the racers and promoters encounter in trying to secure all of the old buses required for racing, as well as the extensive repairs they must undergo. The film never gives us too much insight into their personalities or what drives them beyond their love of auto racing. These are Southern good ol’ boys but the film never takes us beyond the surface level.

When the film reaches its climactic race it’s anticlimactic because there’s simply nothing on the line. It’s just a big race of school buses, looping the track and making incidental contact with one another. At least in the interviews with the spectators, Burroughs is able to get a bit of personality and honesty from those interview subjects – most of whom aren’t shy about hiding the fact that they want to witness some big crashes.

Fans of auto racing, the kind of people who have memorials to the late Dale Earnhardt, are likely to love the racing action of Smash: Motorized Mayhem. But for those hoping for something beyond the surface level of school buses racing, the film leaves a lot to be desired. This is a movie made for a niche audience and doesn’t make any efforts to reach out beyond its target. At least Smash: Motorized Mayhem knows who it’s appealing to with its laid back country music in the background as the narration provides folksy musings on the nature of auto racing. Too bad it can’t help those of us on the outside understand its appeal.

Smash: Motorized Mayhem is now available on iTunes and other VOD platforms.

Smash: Motorized Mayhem
  • Overall Score


Examining the world of school bus racing in Florida, Smash: Motorized Mayhem features plenty of Southern personality as it aims to please its core audience without extending beyond the confines of its niche.

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