28 June 2003 | bmacv
When bad rubber meets the road...
This crime programmer from the end of the Second World War holds interest as a period piece, since it's based on the wartime scarcity of rubber and the consequent thriving of bootleg-tire rings. When a wealthy young man, all set for a night of boozing and dining at a roadhouse called The Plantation, finds his roadster stripped of his tires, his buddy hands him a card. Within minutes, a dealer shows up, but instead of Ecstasy or crystal meth, `brand-new' tires are the contraband. But when the drunken young daredevil takes a curve at 100 miles an hour, a blowout sends him and his date to kingdom come. He bought not only the plantation but lethal knockoffs - the equivalent of what a quarter-century later would be bad acid.
The bulk of the story revolves around police attempts to crack the ruthless ring, and it devolves into Irish-American stereotypes that might be offensive if they weren't so quaint. A couple of brothers named Harrigan (Richard Travis and Charles Lang) are at loggerheads; one's an honest cop, the other a hooligan mixed up in the phony-rubber ring. To make matters worse, one's named Pat and the other Mike (and to make them worse still, the girl they're both sweet on is named Kitty Kelly - Eleanor Parker, in a sliver of a role). Good cop Pat pretends to go bad to infiltrate the gang, but there's already a bad cop on the force, one who's head man in the racket. The Last Ride is all pretty routine, barely saved by its glimpse into a vanished style of petty crime.