When Jeff (Kurt Russell) and Amy Taylor learned they needed to take a long journey across America, they opted for the long way rather than once again flying across some of the spectacular desert vistas and scenic highways. So now in a brand new top of the range SUV with Jeff at the wheel, they feel they are making good time through the heartland.
Then a near miss brought about thanks to the ‘they appear that one second you look away from the road’ cliche, and an inopportune broken ‘freps’ leaves them in an area suddenly less beautiful and more harsh and unaccommodating.
Rather than leave the nice new expensive car unattended, Amy takes a lift from a friendly trucker, leaving Jeff to wait at the vehicle while they head 5 minutes down the road.
Way more than five minutes later, Jeff heads down the road, befuddled at what could have waylaid his wife. He finds the truckstop and questions one and all about where his wife has gotten to;… “What wife?”
Thankfully this is no mystery whodunit, but a nice little B movie centred around the lengths a desperate man will go to in order to rescue a loved one. In a saga that grows more entertaining as the events become more unlikely, it is the intensity of Kurt Russell that centres the film. Average Guy Jeff takes such drastic measures through Breakdown where so many others would walk away. He cheats death several times, is shot at, and finds himself on both ends of car chases with all manner of vehicles. She must have had the primary credit card…
The best part of Breakdown is that it doesn’t seek to outsmart itself with unnecessary complications like Vacancy and Midnight Meat Train, we learn the situation, the protagonists and the stakes early on, and the final hour is spent winning or losing. The last quarter hour is especially pleasing, and when an already decent little B movie ends on a high note, that’s 90 weekend minutes well spent.
Final Rating – 7 / 10. A well made, unassuming 90s thriller that will pleasantly kill a couple hours.