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STUDIO RLJ/Image Entertainment
RUNNING TIME 92 long minutes
SPECIAL FEATURES None
Put Thomas Jane in a car with John Cusack and let them riff for an hour and a half.
John Cusack, Thomas Jane
A former race car driver (Thomas Jane) gets kidnapped by a bank robber (John Cusack) and is forced to be his wheelman in a cross-country getaway.
The Nicolas Cageification of John Cusack just keeps on rolling. Like Cage, he’s selling his substantial charm and talent for next to nothing these days, flying out to Australia to ride shotgun in an anemic action film opposite Thomas Jane (also slumming and being sold for much less than his talent deserves). He keeps his head relatively low here, entering the film seated, wearing dark glasses and nursing an e-cig from beneath the brim of a black baseball cap. He comes alive in fits and starts, like a man who starts nodding off while driving, only to have his head snap back, waking up mere seconds before driving off the road. Basically, he’s too much of a pro to totally suck in this movie. Jane’s the same way. There’s not character for him to play, really, but he’s seen enough movies to bluff his way through this. More so than Cusack, he comes across like the cool kid in school using his charm to bluff his way through a bad book report, hoping the teacher doesn’t smell the booze on his breath.
The rest of the movie is a total shambles. Director Brian Trenchard Smith has done far more idiosyncratic, interesting and competent work in the past (Turkey Shoot being a personal favorite), but here he’s saddled with the style and pacing of a Luc Besson produced action flick. It’s not a good look for him and he can’t match the kinetic energy and style of those films on a fraction of their budget. And unlike his leads, he’s only too happy to plow through stock scenes of, say, federal agents arguing with the local police about how, “this is my investigation now.” He populates the rest of the film with Australian actors who only make you appreciate what real movie star charisma is and what a precious commodity it can be. The next time you walk out of a professionally-made Hollywood film and complain about the acting, consider giving this a spin to see what the floor on this kind of work really looks like.
By the low standards of the direct-to-video action market, this isn’t remotely on the level of something like Deadly Prey or The Killing Zone, but it’s painfully generic. Even the best of the Jane and Cusack road show is done under the apparent fog of a hangover. We missed the party.
If you buy the Blu-ray, you get a DVD copy to go along with it. You lucky so and so.