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Highwaymen (2004)

Terror hits the road

Directed by:

Robert Harmon

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 80 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 18

Country: Canada

Road rage! If it can spell the end for Derek Wilton from ‘Coronation Street’, it can get any of us. Strictly speaking though, ‘Highwaymen’ isn’t about road rage – it’s about cold, calculated, pre-meditated murder on the open roads of America. The twist? Well, the killer’s old legs aren’t what they used to be, so he uses his car as the weapon.

Whatever way you look at it, this if a daft film – you can suss that out as early on as the very first scene, where Rennie (Jim “Jesus Christ” Caviezel) sees his missus about to be mowed down on the main road, but decides to mutedly run gawp-mouthed after her instead of just yelling something along the lines of “get out of the bloody way!!”.

Nonetheless, that’s how the groundwork is laid for the hour or so that remains of this mercifully short film. Five years on from the accident, Rennie’s turned into a perma-stubbled Mad Max of the motorway, spending his days trailing the car-bound killer as he crashes his way through one pedestrian after another. You’d think a fairly obvious plan might be for our Ren to hand over the fairly clear-cut evidence he’s gathered to the police – but no, our hero has a cunning plan. He’s going to kidnap the madman’s latest target (an easy-on-the-eye if not particularly convincing Rhona Mitra) and use her as bait in a game of car-and-mouse (see what I did there?).

Quite simply, the plot here doesn’t work. Time after time Rennie and the killer simply find each other with no explanation as to how, and we’re joined on the ride by a pencil-pushing cop (Frankie Faison) who takes almost the whole movie to think of calling for a bit of back-up. Director Robert Harmon does his best to recreate the roadside terror of his 1986 classic ‘The Hitcher’, and in fairness he does manage to put together an end product that’s interesting enough to hold the attention. But, in the end, there’s just too much here that’ll have you slumped back and raising an eyebrow when you’re supposed to be perched quivering on the edge of your seat.

It's Got: Crashing and smashing.

It Needs: To wear its seatbelt.

Alternatives:

Crash, Duel, Mad Max, The Hitcher, The Punisher

Summary

A tale of motorway madness that wheely doesn’t work (a bit like that last pun, come to think of it).

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