About the Movie

Movie Storyline


Running on Empty is a classic Australian action film that was released in 1982. It epitomises what it was like to be a revhead in Australia in the ‘80’s – fast cars, hot girls and exciting times. The movie starts with Mike, played by Terry Serio, a budding street racer and owner of a Ford Falcon GT-HO Phase III. His best mate Tony, played by John Agius is also his mechanic. When they have any spare time you will see them racing. The best racer in the area, Fox, played by Richard Moir, races a Dodge Challenger. People are very careful to stay in his and his mates good books. He is the top racer in the area and is unbeatable. The movie then cuts to a race between Fox and a guy in a Holden Monaro. The Monaro loses control on the road after the guy loses his temper and explodes. After that no racer in the area feels comfortable racing and Fox can’t find an opponent to race and win money off.

Fox’s girlfriend, Julie portrayed by Deborah Conway is upset about his uncaring behaviour towards the young man that died. This turns into Julie sharing a flirtatious moment with Mike before Fox rudely interrupts by ramming Mikes car. Fox calls out Mike by saying that if he wants what Fox has, namely Julie, he will have to race for it.

Mike loses the first race to Fox. His car is just simply not fast enough. He then decides to go into the bush with Julie and Tony to race easy wins and make money to rebuild his engine and call a rematch. We see him racing one group of people -the Gazard Boys. Mike wins easily but the Boys call a double or nothing rematch for the next day. Mike and his friends find themselves at a garage where they meet Rebel (Max Cullen), a blind mechanic with a great passion for souped up cars. He still drives his ’57 Chevy Coupe with the help of his wife.

The next day it is time for the rematch with the Gazard Boys. The race starts well but then Mike is led into trap and is threatened to have his beloved Falcon burn to the ground unless he gives his winnings back. Mike refuses and the car is soaked in gasoline and set on fire. Mike tries to escape but rolls the car and finally manages to quench the fire by driving into a shallow lake.

The car barely manages to make it back to Rebels garage. Reel allows them to stay as long as they need for Mike, Tony and Rebel to fix his Falcon back to racing condition. Rebel upgrades the car by adding in a nitrous system to give Fox a nasty surprise when they race again.

Fox and Mike line up back in Sydney to start the race. Unfortunately in a freak accident, no one has told them a logging truck is in the middle of their route. It pulls out in front of Mike, destroying the car and injuring him. He feels set up.

As the technical winner of the race, Fox tells Mike and Tony – no wheels, stay off the streets. Mike is shown recovering in hospital. It seems like he has given up on racing. Tony is then bashed up by Fox’s head thug for riding a bicycle in the streets. Mike vows revenge and challenges Fox to one last race. Since Mike has no car, he has to convince Rebel to let him use his beloved souped up Chevy. He knows it has the power to beat Fox’s car in a quarter mile. Rebel reluctantly allows Mike to use his car after teaching him drive and handle it properly. Whoever wins gets the other persons car. Fox realises that his car has no chance to beat the Chevy over a quarter mile changes the terms of the race and decides they will race in Kemps Creek instead because it is a mile long circuit and he figures his car has the advantage there.

There is an eventful race through Kemps Creek. Mike is revealed to be the winner. There is a stand-off between Mike and Fox with Fox refusing to hand over his keys. Fox then comes to realisation that he has finally lost and drives his Dodge full speed into a wall, killing himself and destroying the car. The movie fades out on Mikes blasé reaction to Foxs death.
Released in America as
Fast Lane Fever ...
Same Movie as Australian but changed the Title and the Cover Page for America version ...
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Original 1970 Dodge Challenger RT 440 Magnum - modified for the movie by FX ILLUSIONS, the Movie Special Effects
Actors from Running On Empty movie - Then and Today
Some photo shots from the movie