STUDIO: Lions Gate
MSRP: $14.98
RUNNING TIME: 90 Minutes

  • Fullscreen! Good, because I’m tired of seeing those stupid black bars getting in the way of the picture. Finally I can watch Christopher Lambert fill the entire screen of my TV without that stupid Widescreen witchcraft.

The Pitch

Craig Sheffer terrorizes the family of Lambert using cars and David Arquette.

The Humans

Here are the people who gave their all so that this 1994 movie could live:

Directed by: Deran Sarafian.

Written by: Tedi Serafian.

Starring: Christopher Lambert, Craig Sheffer, David Arquette, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michelle Forbes and Christopher McDonald.

From MonsterQuest, the highly illusive Nazi Brolin.

The Nutshell

Before director Deran Serafian could muster the directorial chops for what would be his next project, the amazing art-house epic Terminal Velocity, he first had to hone his craft with this piece of action. The Road Killers tells the tale of a band of wandering rogues (led by Sheffer, who looks like he stepped off of the bus with Axl Rose), who terrorize Jack Lerolland (Lambert) and his family as they drive across the desert on a nice little vacation. Jack’s brother Glen (the imitable Christopher McDonald), along with his son, are also tagging along, but when the boy is nearly run over by the joy-riding fiends, Glen confronts the Sheffer in a truck stop diner and throws water in his face.

This, it turns out, is the universal sign for “don’t be in The Road Killers“.

Unfortunately for Glen, Sheffer doesn’t acquiesce to this signal, instead challenging him to a game of chicken. As is often the case things get even worse for Glen, who winds up in the burning cage that used to be his car! When Jack comes to avenge his brother he’s beaten about the Lambert with a bat and left for dead – his family kidnapped. Jack gets pissed (not the drunk definition) and heads out to try that vengeance thing one more time, hopefully with a better outcome.

Current whereabouts of Christopher McDonald.

The Lowdown

The Road Killers is, oddly enough, not good at all! The main problem is that it isn’t the worst thing either, so I’m torn as to how to approach it. It isn’t worth completely hating because it has a fairly decent cast who really try their best, and there came a time when I started to feel sorry for them a little bit. Here they were plodding through this production, hoping it would turn out great (but, I suspect, knowing it had to no chance of attaining that goal), and working with a “legend” like Christopher McDonald… I mean Christopher Lambert. However, most of them end up looking bored as the film progresses (except for Sheffer), and that’s never a good sign.

 Also from MonsterQuest, the seriously Jokerfaced Sheffer.

One problem was they weren’t helped by the writing, which was pretty brutal. Basically it’s just a remake of every “family tormented by wacky crims while on vacation” movie (for example, Sister Act), with nothing original to offer except extreme closeups of Michelle Forbes’ vacant face in the diner scene at the beginning, for reasons I have yet to deduce. But other than that, forget it. The dialog is choppy and dull and the direction boring and uninspired, much like a B movie! Who knew?

Sheffer clearly read the “script” and realized he had the lead role, in spite of Lambert being attached and receiving top billing. He takes full advantage of this by overacting his bizarre features off, chewing every line and spitting them out at Lambert with gusto. His performance isn’t bad, per say, it’s just too much, especially up against the calmness of Christophe. Even when Lambert is being mean and aggressive, he’s still too laid back in his chamber of coolness. I like Lambert as much as the next Micah, but there’s a guy who is incapable of letting go, not like Sheffer, who let go way to much.

Other than those two there’s nothing else here of interest. David Arquette reminds everyone just how annoying and truly atrocious he can be, with his goofy whining character he’s trotted out before, whereas Josh Brolin is given nothing to do except go along with Sheffer as one of his henchmen. McDonald tries a little before he is sent hurtling off the road in his fiery Mustang, but isn’t around long enough to do any damage to Sheffer’s command of the movie.

Groundtaster St. Henry, upon glimpsing the deadly Lambert filmography.

All in all The Road Killers is a trashy movie that isn’t good enough to be enjoyable, or bad enough to be fun – it’s somewhere in the middle. In fact, it resides in the deadly realm of boredom. It’s an almost-stale bag of Potato Chips that should have been thrown out two days earlier. Not the kind of thing you’d watch on a rainy Saturday afternoon while you flip through the channels. There’s just not enough here to like or make fun of, and that is the real disease any film can succumb to.

The Package

Here is what you get for the crisp $15 dollar bill you will be asked to fork over at your local market: a firm handshake. In some cases you may not even get that, but no matter, you will be the proud owner of the fullscreen version of The Road Killers, because there doesn’t appear to be a widescreen version anywhere in existence.

Let me give you a rundown of the features as they are presented on the case. The italics are mine, so don’t go giving them credit for something I did:

- 4×3 Full Screen (Always a great marketing tool, especially if your market is uneducated and foolish).
- 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio (Great, a sound for each ear. Granted, I wasn’t expecting 7.1 surround, but to go through the effort of putting this on the DVD case?).
- English Closed Captions (So you can read the dialog BEFORE it is spoken. Finally you can act alongside Christopher Lambert, much like he does!).
- English and Spanish Subtitles (The Spanish I get, although why torture non-English speaking people? But why bother with the English when you already have Closed Captioning? Again, needless work).
- A Rebate Check For Having Seen Knight Moves In Theaters (Well, that may not be true, but it would have helped in this economy).

In case you haven’t noticed, this movie, while being on the shitty side, simply isn’t worth hating. Basically some people got together and tried to make an action movie using plot elements from several other movies, apparently not really caring much about quality (an example being the nightmarish image quality). So here’s a hint: don’t bother with this one.

4 out of 10