Apex: The Secret Race Across America Film Review

What Apex: the Secret Race Across America manages to do in this documentary is not glorify the race itself. It is not trying to sway opinion or defend the actions of cannonball racers. It is just pure leaded journalism doing a fantastic job explaining 50 years of a particular tale in automotive history and condensing it into roughly an hour and 30 minutes.

When it comes to illegal transcontinental racing, there are two ways to look at it. You either see Cannonballer racers as Burt Reynolds mustache wearing alpha-scofflaws or Ivy Leagued show-offs with Captain Chaos egos. The great thing about this topic is both sides agree that this race is unnecessary, factually reckless, and selfish.

I would categorize cannonball racing on the same level as competitive eating, slam-dunk contests, and civil war reenactments.


The story revolves around Alex Roy’s cannonball run in 2006 that broke a seemingly unbeatable record of 32 hours 7 minutes. Roy’s story is supported with interviews with those who raced in the Cannonball and U.S. Express races during their heyday. Back in the late 70s and early 80s, before GPS, racing in cars fitted with James Bond levels of gadgets to fly under the Motorola radar. The documentary’s goal is to showcase the effort, dedication, time, and necessary-obsession to complete this protest turned passionate-driving challenge.

You feel the anxiety, the fatigue, and speed involved in averaging 90 mph over 2,800 miles in a manifest-destiny sprint across America. If nothing else, this film is an excellent advertisement for BMW starring Roy’s last action hero-car, a cannonball prepped 2000 BMW E39 M5. This car is essentially Tom Cruise on wheels. It does it own stunts, and looks fantastic for its age.

This story is immensely entertaining whether you agree or disagree with the morals, and logic, of racing flat-out from New York to Los Angles. It has everything you want in a captivating story: Real events, speed, danger, illegal activity, hot cars, exciting lead characters, and high-octane nostalgia.

You can stream APEX: The Secret Race Across America on Amazon, YouTube, and Apple iTunes. Its a documentary that pops the clutch on the imagination and gives drivers a leather jacket wearing sense of rebellious pride for the art of driving. In an age where car enthusiasts wonder what the future will mean for their hobby Apex: the Secret Race Across America serves as direct-injection reminder.

So long as there are paved roads, we will always be going somewhere.