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The very best action packed suspense dramatic thriller I have ever
seen. Throughout my life I have seen about twelve thousand movies, so
that actually is saying something. I can't believe that I never saw
this movie until today. Wish I had seen it in the theatre.
Jeff and Amy Taylor are moving from the east coast to the west coast and have a breakdown some sixty miles outside of the town that progress forgot. A friendly truck driver offers to help and gives Amy a ride to town while Jeff stays behind to watch the SUV. He notices the actual problem with his car's engine, a minor one that he can fix, and gets under way to meet up with his wife. When he gets to the diner where Amy is supposed to be calling for a tow truck, she is not there. Where is Amy? Where is the trucker who helped her? Why are people shooting at Jeff?
BUZZ WORDS THAT I'VE HEARD APPLIED TO OTHER MOVIES, WHICH GENERALLY DISAPPOINT, BUT ARE ACCURATE FOR THIS ONE:
Breakdown is an edge of your seat, adrenaline pumping and heart stopping in your face cinematic thrill ride that will leave you breathless and begging for more pulse pounding, jaw dropping excitement; and then it delivers with a finale that will leave you teetering on the edge of eternity chewing on someone else's fingernails.
If you only have the opportunity to see one action flick in your lifetime, THIS HAS TO BE IT!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Within the first few minutes, I could tell this movie was a good one.
Why? Because the characters choose appropriate actions based on their
motives. Here's a few examples:
When Kurt Russell confronts the guy in the truck at the gas station in the very beginning, and his wife asks him what who he was, in a bad movie he would have said no one. Here he explains that it was the same guy from before, which makes sense.
It doesn't make sense at first when Russell refuses the ride from the trucker, but it is subtly revealed that he doesn't want to leave his car alone. This leads to his wife going off alone, but only after she forces the issue. Russell's motivations here make perfect sense for his actions.
After Russell tapes up the bad guy and is pulled over by the cop, in a bad movie he would have put his gun in the cop's face and tied him up too. Instead, he surrendered and asked for help, just like a reasonable person would.
When Russell latches onto the back of JT Walsh's truck, there's a dramatic sequence where he clings to the bottom of the truck as he makes his way to the front. In a bad movie, this would have led to him climbing into the cab, wresting control of the truck and forcing Walsh to reveal the location of his wife. Instead, he was taking the sensible and important step of getting to a safe and comfortable place to spend the hours-long ride.
Throughout the movie, Russell tries to call for help. In most movies like this, if an attempt is even made to actually use the police, they are invariably disdainful of strangers, in on it, or both. In the brief period where Russell thinks the cops are in on it, he tries to reach an FBI agent. Apart from the period immediately after the cop got shot, he constantly tries to get police help, just like a thinking human being would.
These and many other small things are examples of the screenwriters giving characters reasonable motives in unreasonable situations and allowing the action to unfold. In too many action movies the main character forces the plot with completely irrational behavior. The main character here reacts to the plot evenly with the audience, and it makes him a much more sympathetic hero than the typical action movie.
Kurt Russell is excellent in this taunt, thrilling, non-stop action film.
Russell plays Jeff, a husband who has to get his wife back after she's
abducted by a trucker after their jeep breaks down and she accepts a ride
from him. Every actor is almost pitch perfect for the parts they play and
the movie was very enjoyable. J.T. Walsh is suitably menacing as Red,in my
mind, but this IS Kurt's movie through and through. Mr. Russell has to be
one of my favorite actors working today. And this film has to be one of the
best 'Chase for family member' type movie in the last decade..HIGHLY
My Grade: A
Where I saw it: HBO plus
I spent this Christmas 2004 in Hungary, and watched Breakdown on TV the
other night. Yes it was dubbed into Hungarian, but I'd already seen the
film in the cinema a few years ago. And you know what? I was still as
thrilled watching it in Hungarian as when I saw it in the cinema. Why?
Because it tells its story mostly in visuals, this for me is the real
power of a good film, using the images to tell the tale.
Kurt Russell is outstanding as the bewildered husband seeking his kidnapped wife, and yes while it reminded me of the superb Dutch film The Vanishing (the original 1988 version not the terrible Hollywood remake), and at times Spielberg's Duel, it still has a real freshness about it, with some great photography and direction.
Well worth a look, possibly Russell's best performance. 9/10
This is great! The action and intensity never let up for a second. Kurt
Russell gives a riveting performance as the hero in search of his missing
wife, and JT Walsh is a fine bad guy.
You will keep yourself on the edge of your seat the entire time and will not want to turn it off, even at the end. It's that good. I promise.
If you like intensity and good movies, rent this one. You will not regret it.
*** out of ****
An action-suspense R-rated movie featuring Kurt Russell and a bunch of
evil kidnappers and extortioners who keep you riveted to your seat
wondering what is going to happen next.
The story has no lulls and when it's over, you're worn out because of the high intensity action start-to-finish. It's actually a little too much.
Yes, it has it's implausible parts, and the language - mainly by Russell - could be cleaned up considerably - but it's so involving a story you get lost in it. It's decently filmed, too, particularly with the desert scenery in the beginning. J. T. Walsh makes an excellent villain, too.
Real gripping thriller, Russell though tends to be a bit of a wimp to
start with then starts getting angry, the storyline is good but some of
the scenarios are a little disbelieving and you will tend to keep
saying things like "How come he has managed to escape and chase them so
easily?" "How come she did that?" etc
The scenery is real nice, fans of road movies will be pleased too with the New Mexico landscapes and long quiet roads.
Worth a watch! We go into real redneck territory here also. I would like to criticise some of the acting though, the delivery of some of the lines tends to be a tad wooden in places (not so much from Russell) but I don't suppose the all non-star cast could expect Oscars.
Jeff Taylor (Kurt Russell) and Amy Taylor (Kathleen Quinlan) are a couple who are moving to San Diego.Their car breaks down in a desert.Amy goes along with a truck driver to call some help from the diner.But she never comes back.Jeff drives all around the desert looking for his wife and he asks some people for his wife, but everybody says they haven't seen her.What has happened to Amy?Watch the movie and find out.Breakdown is totally worth checking out.Kurt Russell's performance is amazing and the other actors are great too. Breakdown is a thrilling action thriller, that keeps the suspense on every second of the movie.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Jeff and Amy Taylor are moving (Kurt Russell and Kathleen Quinlan) to a
new place and area, to attempt to preserve their work lives and bring
some stability to the world they know. Happily chatting along the way,
they run into a small 'snag' their vehicle, has a break down. Over
heating and somewhat confused by the incident, Jeff and Amy push the
vehicle off the road and collect their wits, trying to figure out a
workable plan that will keep them moving and allow them to split up to
get two things done and save a lot of after hassles. A Peterbuilt semi
truck pulls up behind and then over, a kindly middle aged 'good'
Samaritan driver asks if they need assistance? Sure enough, the vehicle
has overheated and they need to make it into the next town...one of
them, the other staying with the vehicle, so nothing will happened to
What happens next is terrifying. People, trusting others to help-out in time of need, run desperately amok. Disasterously Jeff makes it into town to find that his lovely little wife, somehow, never arrived?! Kurt Russell is and brings out an award winning performance of a man in terror. As he is back on the road, he sees the kindly old driver who assisted he and his wife! Jeff pulls up beside 'Red' on the highway motioning Red to pull over and Red just looks at him as if he is stranger. Jeff calls in the local Police, though all the while interred into the problem and sympathetic, nothing gets changed, because Red acts as though he has never seen Jeff and tells the officer the same thing. Jeff is emotionally upside down now!! He feels alone and out numbered by professional kidnappers. As he is moving along, he is contacted. Pursued by a big man named Earl, who ends up being the go-between for the ransom and the party that has mysteriously 'snatched' his woman.
Jeff is now insulted, by the transfer and subsequent abduction of himself by the collector, that something inside Jeff that probably has never been used, breaks down. Jeff Taylor is now on the other side of the law, he is just trying to survive In this game.
Russell excels as Jeff Taylor and Kathleen ain't far behind in this who dun-nit, thriller-roller-coaster ride. The late J.T. Walsch is the front-man screw-setter for the other part of the gang that will turn the screws harder to Jeff and Amy.
This one deserves ten of ten for an exhaustingly great mix of emotion, fear, aggressive action and anger, that will set the movie goer on the edge of the seat! I recommend this for those that want to get unhinged by a dramatic pounding thrill packed 2 hours. And the strangest part is, it all started over a package of 'Snow Balls'. (****)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Man, am I exhausted."
That was the comment I made after watching 1997s summer sleeper Breakdown. This is the kind of movie that works so well and moves so fast that despite moments of plausibility, it won't give you time to think or even care about such things.
In the beginning we see a happily married couple Jeff & Amy Taylor (played to the cue by Kurt Russell & Kathleen Quinlan)hitting the open road. After leaving a gas station (where I will never leave the hood of my car propped up again) their Jeep Cherokee breaks down and do the the fact that they are in the middle of nowhere their cell phones are out of range to call for help.
Coincidently, (perhaps)? a trucker named 'Red' (the late and very talented J.T. Walsh) happen to drive by to offer assistance and Jeff (in his one weak moment but nobody's perfect) agrees to let his wife hitch a ride to the nearest town while he waits behind.
Tick tock, tick tock. Time starts to get the best of Jeff and in a state of mild panic he inspects the SUV and discovers a few loosened wires which turns out to be the reason the Jeep stalled, and then yep, it's now running like a dream. (I was expecting something like that since it's doubtful the makers of Jeep Cherokee would allow anything else).
Now things are getting bad. Jeff arrives in town only to discover that Amy never arrived and nobody has scene a thing. While in the restaurant one drunk suggests he checks the ladies room so Jeff does but only to discover a woman vomiting in the toilet.
The plot takes an interesting turn when Jeff spots Red speeding down the freeway and though he successfully pulls him over expecting to find Amy Barr's reply is "I'm sorry, but I've never seen you before in my life." The police arrive at the scene and are sympathetic, but can't offer any real assistance without proof.
What works so well in Breakdown is writer/director Jonathan Mostow has made a movie that is not only exciting and thrilling but SMART TOO. Like a lot of movies, the good guy tends to do so many stupid and unmotivated things (see Jurassic Park 3 for proof) that eventually I start rooting for the bad guy. I also liked Russell's character Jeff a lot and admired his determination on not giving up to rescue Amy. And the final chase sequence is the best I've seen since Steve McQueens brilliant film, 'Bullitt."
Jolly good show Jonathan.
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