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It could happen to you.


Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
Year: 1997
imdb rating: 6.9
Cast: Kurt Russell, J.T. Walsh, Kathleen Quinlan
Director: Jonathan Mostow

A man searches for his missing wife after his car breaks down in the middle of the desert.

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Breakdown: review

In Breakdown, Kurt Russell and Amy Quinlan play a wealthy New England couple who find horror in Iowa. While driving cross-country, their car breaks down. The various local people they meet who initially seem helpful are in fact criminals working together. The wife is kidnapped, the husband is told to pay half a million to get her back alive, and Kurt Russell decides he'd rather fight.

I found this a rather lame movie. Its believability goes way down when, for example, Kurt Russell rides on the bottom of a moving truck trailer and easily finds his way up to the cab. There are obvious continuity and other errors here: a villain gets a brutal rifle blast to his shoulder, but a few minutes later he's driving a car with no visible problems; a small child is shown playing video games (so it's early evening), but a few minutes later in the same scene dawn breaks.

About the only entertainment here is the acting of J.T. Walsh and M.C. Gainey, who are caricatures but fun ones. Kurt Russell, on the other hand, acts like he's not particularly happy to have taken this role, and is just going through the motions until he gets his paycheck.

I must say that the purported message, if any, of this film is intriguing. Breakdown seems to be suggesting that decent people from the coasts shouldn't venture into flyover country, since it is the den of rednecks who lie in wait for them. The forces behind this film clearly weren't interested in fairly portraying the Midwest.