Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No, not the country supergroup

I picked up Highwaymen on a whim. I'd never heard anything good or bad about it, hell, I'd never heard of it, period. I was bored and decided to stop in at the video store down the street to see if I could cure said boredom. Walking around aimlessly, I spot the box. It says it has Jesus and the hot chick from Doomsday in it. Ok. That sounds interesting. And it was directed by the guy who did The Hitcher, not sure if they mean the original or the remake, and I didn't look any further into it. I took it home with me. What's the worst that could happen? A movie I've never heard of by a director who made a movie I liked staring an actor I like. Sounds good to me.

Is it as good as the soup I had for dinner, or as so-so as the sandwich and should I look for further analogies in my meals? How would it compare to the applesauce I made, or even the water I was drinking. Am I making you hungry yet? Hungry for action? Starving for suspense? Good.

Highwaymen is a demolition derby for the most part. Five years ago some nutjob killed Jesus' wife with a 72 El Dorado. And not in the Dr Horrible Capt-Hammer-threw-a-car-at-my-head kind of way. He ran her over on the side of the road. This is apparently the sort of thing that this guy does. Jesus, aka Rennie, is trying to find this guy. Molly, the chick from Doomsday, just sort of happens to get caught up in this whole mess...well, along with a state traffic investigator that is.

There is an instant urge to look to The Hitcher for comparison. Not because the two are very similar, because really they aren't. Sure, there are some superficial similarities. Open roads, cars, killers without a reason. I think it would be fair to say that Highwaymen does draw some inspiration from The Hitcher. The two movies also share a director, which is a much better reason for the comparison. And, I think it's easy to say that The Hitcher is the better movie. Not just the plot, but the way it unfolds, the way it builds suspense.

Which isn't to say that Highwaymen isn't suspenseful. It is. The story is unique and intriguing. The characters are fairly shallow, but the connection between them all is well played out. The acting is good, especially that of Caviezel and Mitra. The story itself is just a little weak. It takes too many leaps of faith to get to that ending. Too many coincidences. The movie collapses under the weight of those questions. It was just like the sandwich.