I’ve been trying to find this film for some time but finally I have managed to lay my hands on a copy thanks (yet again) to eBay. This Japanese film was originally titled “Mach 78” and was filmed on the US west coast (around Long Beach) in 1978. The utterly feeble plot tells the tale of a group of Japanese stuntmen challenging a bunch of American stuntmen to increasingly crazy car stunts. Forget the plot though. Forget the acting too (which is really quite awful!) because this film has something special to offer for the Datsun nut. Oh yes, while there’s lots of 60’s and 70’s American machinery to be seen, there’s plenty of hair raising stunts featuring Datsuns! As an added bonus for fans of hammy acting and pointless plots… it’s dubbed into English! If you like your stunts 1970’s style then you’re in for a treat as this film is pretty much packed with them from end to end, culminating in a pretty spectacular use for a Porsche 911. Here’s a clip to give you a brief taster of what’s in store…

Not only are there jumps, crashes and some pretty impressive driving skills to be seen, for some unknown reason, the creators of this masterpiece also saw fit to add some random footage of some vintage circuit racing, some dune buggy action and even a bit of a tour of a car museum! Finding the film under it’s original title seems to be quite difficult and I suspect it may have only been used in the Japanese market. Even the Internet Movie Database doesn’t list it! It was also released under the title of “Daredevil Drivers” as well as “Daredevil Stunt Drivers” but again copies are few and far between. The copy I found was titled “Stunt Wars” and appears to be some kind of home produced DVD but was the only version that seems to be readily available online. I only guessed it was the same film from the plot outline described on the auction as you would never guess from the cover illustration (below left). So where to get it? Well, obviously eBay would probably yield a copy the same as mine or if you want the original (in Japanese of course) you can try www.cdjapan.co.jp or www.sazuma.com

You may also want to check out one of the stars of Mack 78, Chaiki Otomo, who now runs a company called “Lucky” supplying camera cars and drivers for film and TV. Dig around on their website and you’ll find several excellent clips of his previous work for Japanese TV shows such as Seibu Keisatsu. Otomo, was also one of the stunt coordinators on a more recent and slighter better known film than Mach 78… The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift!

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