This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative
It’s time to look at an old 90s thriller. This is the kind of film where the whole premise is built around the characters not being very intelligent which is always worrisome. It’s not that good as the film tends to be more annoying than thrilling. An upside is that the music is surprisingly good though so you have something nice to listen to.
It all starts with Jeff and Amy driving to a new home. They have to drive through a long stretch of empty land to get to their destination though. They nearly bump into another car on the way which causes Jeff to get a little stressed out but at least the collision didn’t actually happen. Unfortunately their car does suddenly go dead though. A truck driver comes up and offers to drive them to the next town. Amy accepts and since Jeff believes that this isn’t a dangerous move he agrees with Amy going alone while he stays with the car. He quickly realizes that the wires were cut which is why the car wasn’t functioning so he heads to town shortly afterwards. Unfortunately everyone claims that Amy never went there. The driver also denies taking her and Jeff quickly realizes that quite a lot of people are in on this. If he’s to stop the villains he is going to have to grab a gun.
This film doesn’t make the conspiracy too huge like some other films. It’s a relatively small operation as the villain group is just comprised of a few different people, but they are all in key places. It is a little iffy how they have been so successful for so long with the police not doing anything to stop them though. They’ve had a pretty easy time of it and the other characters are so oblivious that they don’t notice prisoners right in their very house. Naturally that makes Jeff’s job even harder.
I am glad that the cop who showed up got one shot in before he went down at least. Otherwise his appearance would have been particularly disgraceful. All the cop does is give the villain a temporary fighting chance. The cast for this film is pretty small all things considered. The only real characters here are the squad of villains and the main couple. Naturally none of the villains are meant to be likable characters and Amy is gone for almost the whole movie.
Jeff is a decent lead, but definitely not the smartest one. As I mentioned earlier you can’t just split up and let someone get into a truck with a total stranger. You can definitely be an optimist and hope that things will go well, but to a certain extent you’ve also gotta be cautious. There’s a reason why they tell you not to talk to strangers. Things can always get very tricky at that point. Fortunately Jeff is very strong and able to climb even in a weakened state. Ultimately he did stay persistent throughout the adventure. His only other big mistake was near the end when he let all of the villains stick together as he left to find a car. You have to at least shoot them in the leg to keep them from hatching another plan. It almost cost him everything once more. I’m not sure if him being super optimistic like this was intentional, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t and so he just doesn’t come off as the most believable character.
Films revolving around kidnappings like this one are definitely hard to pull off because they can easily cross the line and just become not fun to watch. The ending is crucial and at least the film didn’t go the dark route which would have really crippled the score. That being said, it still goes out of its way to make sure that it’s rather dark with all the missing posters in the police office and through the discussions of how many times they’ve succeeded before. It makes the whole film rather dark and just not really one that you’ll ever have any interest in re watching. The film is rather short, but ends up feeling really long as well.
As I mentioned earlier, I did enjoy the soundtrack though. We get some really solid tense music and other good tunes that worked well for the action scenes. That’s definitely something that I can really appreciate since most films tend to just skip the soundtrack portion and end up being rather generic. This one put some actual thought into it and it ended up working out quite well. Probably the best soundtrack I’ve heard in a non franchise film in a long time.
Overall, Breakdown is not a film I’d recommend. At most it serves as a decent cautionary tale for common sense when on the road. Taking a car trip through such a place was always a risk and there’s not much you can do about your car breaking down. The rest of the film is rather preventable though and while the villains could have popped up and done things anyway, at least the heroes wouldn’t have made their job even easier. Also, while Jeff’s pen plan did end up working, once you give the money to the villains they really do have no reason to keep you or the hostage alive so you can never just give them the objective without making sure that you have a way to end things yourself. It’s like in all of the films where a villain holds you at gun point and tells you to get in the car. The heroes always obey and I just have to shake my head. If you get in the car then dying is the least of your worries and it’ll probably be more painful. At least if you run or tackle the guy you’ll die right away of succeed. Don’t make the job easier for these villains. If you want to watch a better thriller, check out Jack Reacher which has solid action scenes and good pacing.