Rod Kimble (Samberg) is a would-be stuntman who believes his biological father once worked for the daredevil, Evil Knievel. Rod is now being raised by his mother (Spacek) and an abusive stepfather named Frank (McShane). Frank tosses Rod around like a rag doll during their weekly sparring sessions and generally doesn't miss a chance to abuse and humiliate his stepson. But when Frank becomes gravely ill, it is up to Hot Rod Kimble to save him. Rod has a brilliant idea to pull off a stunt more dangerous than any Knievel ever attempted in order to raise enough money to cure his stepdad...just so he can exact revenge and finally kick his rear! (Stacey Pendry)
Special features include commentary from cast and crew, Ancestors Protect Me: Behind The Scenes Of Hot Rod (eight minutes), 15 deleted/extended scenes, an outtakes reel (three minutes), eight short videos in Kevin's Videos, a two-minute short Punch-Dance, Home Video Footage Of Orchestra Recording Session (one minute), the original theatrical trailer, and previews.
The anamorphically enhanced 2.34:1 DVD shows fairly well-captured details, and colors show good saturation, but the image often has a pale appearance. Black levels are adequately deep, and shadow delineation is decent. Fleshtones generally look natural, but they occasionally have an orange, "fake tan" glow. Source element artifacts are not overly obtrusive, but edge enhancement is noticeable throughout. The VC-1-encoded HD DVD shows the requisite improvement in resolution, with fine textures presented nicely. Colors are also bolder, but fleshtones can still have an orangish hue. The picture can still look somewhat pale and doesn't have the apparent depth that the best high-definition releases show. (Danny Richelieu)
The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack is rather basic, with little true surround envelopment. While the surround channels are incorporated into the mix often, they are at very low levels compared to the front channels, limiting their effectiveness. Dialogue sounds natural for the most part, but the noise floor is relatively high, with a shuffling distortion audible throughout the majority of the presentation. The HD DVD's Dolby Digital Plus encoding provides a subtle improvement in fidelity over the DVD's encoding, but the HD DVD's lossless Dolby TrueHD encoding provides noticeably improved fidelity, with a more smooth, articulate character. (Danny Richelieu)