Asphalt Burning

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Asphalt Burning Movie Poster Image
Drinking, cursing, reckless driving in inept comedy.
  • NR
  • 2021
  • 100 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

There's nothing positive in this dumb, nonsensical movie.

Positive Role Models

Norwegian Roy has bad judgment and kisses a woman when he's drunk at his pre-wedding party.

Violence

A man gets hit by a flying tire. An off-duty cop driving a bus chases a man down a highway for no apparent reason. A leather-clad, muscular racing gang menaces innocent people. They throw a man into a river, then his car after him. The focus is on dangerous driving and car stunts. Cars drive off a bridge, flip through the air, and land on a barge. A misplaced corpse makes a brief appearance.

Sex

Men and women kiss. It's suggested that a woman had a lesbian affair.

Language

"F--k," "s--t," "hell," "damn," "bastards," and "bitch."

Consumerism

Porsche and BMW product placement.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink a great deal of alcohol.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Asphalt Burning is the third installment in a Fast & Furious-style Norwegian film series. It should be noted that this car-racing comedy (in Norwegian, Swedish, and German, with English subtitles) isn't in the least bit funny Character stupidity runs high, and the language runs adult, including "f--k," "s--t," "damn," "hell," "bastard," and "bitch." Dangerous car stunts dominate, a misplaced corpse makes a brief appearance, a man is forcible tossed in a river, and motorheads get drunk at a pre-wedding party. Lots of drinking. Men and women kiss. It's suggested that a woman had a lesbian affair.

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What's the story?

ASPHALT BURNING begins as Roy Gunderson (Anders Baasmo Christiansen), a Norwegian race car driver, parties with his rowdy motorhead friends the night before his wedding. The plan is for Roy and some friends to "race" the next morning right before the ceremony, and the winner, presumably Roy, will marry Sylvia (Kathrine Thorberg Johansen), his fiancée and mother of their baby. But the night before he's seduced while drunk by Robyn (Alexandra Maria Lara), who, it seems, was once Sylvia's girlfriend. After Robyn entraps the incapacitated Roy into kissing her, she tells Sylvia and Sylvia calls the wedding off. Robyn is a racecar driver, too, so she challenges Roy to bring his car and crew to race for Sylvia's hand on a famous track in Germany. The winner, she says, can marry Sylvia. Since Sylvia has just rejected Roy, this seems confusing, but preparations proceed without Sylvia's objection. Roy's car needs to be rebuilt. Roy meets a Swedish Roy (Bjorn Kjellman) and a German Roy (Kostja Ullmann), and they all tag along for the big race.  Racing ensues.

Is it any good?

Asphalt Burning is beyond dreadful, a story about irrational people making bad decisions. A woman calls off her wedding after learning her fiancé kissed her flirtatious, entrapping ex-girlfriend when he was falling down drunk. Sylvia calls the wedding off, so why does she allow him to race her ex-girlfriend and offer herself as the trophy to the winner? And why would Roy want a woman who will only marry him if he wins a race? Divorce surely looms in their future.

None of the movie's subsequent frenzied activity is motivated, so there's little to keep us emotionally involved. Even with the random corpse of a little old lady added to the mix, the movie is so inept it can't even squeeze a comic thread out of a misplaced dead body. Robyn's friend Lemmy, a menacing bully, is dispatched to threaten Roy and his friends, demanding Roy race him. For no good reason, Roy does. If you want to see a souped-up 1967 Mustang go flying over a river, this is your movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the intended audience of this movie. Who was it made for? How can you tell?

  • This is a foreign movie; do you think some of the humor doesn't work due to cultural differences? Why or why not?

  •  

  • What's the appeal of racing movies? Is it just fun to watch cars drive fast, or is there more to these movies?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love cars

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