Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005) – ripper car movies

A great mix of street racing and NASCAR stoushes, not to mention a full-on redneck demolition derby


The early 2000s saw our cinema screens filled with reboots of old films and TV shows. Some were a great success; others fell flat. 2005’s Herbie: Fully Loaded hovers somewhere in between. The film sees the return of one of Disney’s most-loved characters, Herbie, the #53 Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own, first introduced way back in 1968 in the The Love Bug.

Whereas the first five Herbie flicks all followed a very similar formula, this new-millennium remake opts for a fresh storyline and an overhaul of the franchise for more modern sensibilities.

Proof of this comes from Herbie’s new owner being a young woman, Maggie (Lohan). She gets to choose a car as a college graduation present from her dad, NASCAR team boss Ray (Keaton). They scour the local scrapyard and she ends up with a well-worn Herbie, unaware of the little Volkswagen’s very particular set of skills.

A frustrated Maggie harbours the desire to professionally race the family NASCAR, a dream blocked by an overprotective Ray. But the team itself is seemingly on its last legs due to the driving failings of her brother, Ray Jr (Meyer).

A chance meeting with local mechanic and old school friend Kevin (Long) brings Maggie’s racing hopes boiling to the surface, with the pair discovering both Herbie’s unusual behaviour and high-speed capabilities at a local car meet.

The pair are challenged to a street race by local hero and current NASCAR champion, Trip Murphy (Dillon) – piloting what us Aussies would call a Monaro, no less – and Herbie’s win instigates a dangerous rivalry between Trip and Maggie.

Embarrassed at being beaten by a Volkswagen, Trip pulls out every trick in his repertoire in an attempt to beat Herbie and ultimately destroy him.

Herbie’s winning ways are further stunted by relationship struggles with Maggie, but the pair work through their issues after she saves him from the destructive clutches of a monster truck. Needless to say, the pair go on to achieve NASCAR glory together.


If you’re after an enjoyable, no-brainer flick to entertain the whole family, Herbie: Fully Loaded fits the bill. The real stunt work and driving action of the Herbie movies has always been excellent, and that continues in this 2005 offering. However, those earlier flicks were also plagued by special effects shortcomings from the then-new technologies of their respective eras. Fully Loaded is unfortunately no exception; the early CGI used for Herbie is so cartoon-like and really detracts from his character. On the plus side, Matt Dillon’s portrayal of the villainous Trip Murphy steals the show.


  • 1963 Volkswagen Beetle
  • 2004 Pontiac GTO
  • Chevrolet Monte Carlo NASCAR
  • 2003 Chevrolet Silverado
  • 1972 Cadillac Fleetwood
  • 2004 Volkswagen Beetle
  • 1968 Ford C-Series
  • 1971 Ford F250
  • 1967 Chevrolet Camaro
  • 2002 Dodge Stratus
  • 1959 Cadillac convertible
  • 1989 Nissan 240SX
  • 1968 Plymouth Barracuda
  • 1966 Pontiac GTO


  • Herbie
  • Lindsay Lohan
  • Michael Keaton
  • Matt Dillon
  • Justin Long
  • Breckin Meyer
  • Jeremy Roberts
  • Cheryl Hines
  • Jill Ritchie

Angela Robinson

A great mix of street racing and NASCAR stoushes, not to mention a full-on redneck demolition derby

A young college graduate returns home to her NASCAR-team family for the summer and reinvigorates both an old race car and her racing dreams

DVD, streaming

The pseudo stock car featured in the opening junkyard scenes is the same 1970 Dodge Charger crashed in the finale race of The Fast and the Furious