Breakdown (1997)


An impressive 90s open-road thriller that streamlines its thrills into white knuckle simplicity. Part The Vanishing, part Duel and peppered through with some backwoods grit, Breakdown nevertheless excels on its own B-movie tarmac. There’s a physicality to this kind of movie being made at this time when filmmakers weren’t prone to taking short cuts with CGI to replace backdrops or by enhancing effects. This is stunt drivers in real cars hauling ass in the desert and sweating the entire time. There’s no denying that it’s full of silliness but it manages to avoid some potential potholes especially in the way it leaves the motivations of the villain ambiguous and doesn’t find some hackneyed way for him to explain himself to Kurt Russell’s hero between showdowns. Add to that the rogues gallery of character actors populating the fringes and a gloriously OTT final act of retribution which more than satisfies the bloodlust built up in the audience by that point, making Breakdown a wholly satisfying 90 minute road game.

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