Thursday, January 06, 2011
It is hard to say what certain directors wish to express in their movies - is it execution of a story that they've like really liked, is it venting their frustrations about a theme, or is it just plain whimsy. Sadly, it's hard to categorize Highwaymen in either of the above categories for it doesn't have a great story, isn't about any theme and surely it's spent too good an amount of money on itself to be considered whimsical. Normally, it is easier to review bad movies but with a movie like Highwaymen, since the above question went unanswered, this is going to challenge me a bit.
The story (and QT might murder me for saying this) seems to be a poorer and an older cousin of Death Proof - that of a killer on the loose with a car as his primary weapon. At some point he kills a person who takes his/her revenge seriously and soon the serial killer and the aggrieved face off in the climax. No romantic angle, no interpersonal conflicts and no sub-plots. Whether QT saw this movie before making Death Proof, I am not sure but the similarities are uncanny. Nevertheless, what separates the two is that while QT's version is racy, saucy and served like a bowl of hot crispy noodles, Highwaymen goes from bad to worse with every passing minute making it more in the league of stale kimchi. Director Robert Harmon( The Hitcher, Nowhere to Run) banks on his ability to exploit action and presents it as the hero of the movie but there are numerous movies with car chases as the mainstay that would any day beat some of the lame action sequences in this one.
Jim Caviezel and Rhona Mitra as leads can really do nothing to salvage a poor script as they sleep walk through their roles. To have actors of such talent in a movie and yet not give them a challenging context is harakiri.There's nothing that was even remotely memorable about the Highwaymen that would merit a thumbs-up. The brighter aspect is that it's all of 82 minutes- so just about when the on-screen trash begins to hurt- it is all over. In that, Robert Harmon does well. In everything else, the film's a cropper.