A little over a year ago, while I was anxiously sitting in my seat waiting for Freddy Vs. Jason to begin, a New Line trailer played that wooed the audience. Sparks flew and cars crashed. It was for none other than Highwaymen. Sadly, that was the last anyone saw or heard of the flick, until that same trailer played in front of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Having promotional material like that attached to two big releases that year, one would think the studio was pulling for it. Apparently not, as the suits at New Line took it upon themselves to bury the film, opening it for a one-week engagement on a little over a hundred screens this past February. You’d think they would have put it off another month to cash in on that other February Caviezel flick.
Jim Caviezel has had a slew of films released this year, with quite a few more on the way. Most notably has been that little film he and director Mel Gibson collaborated on. Highwaymen was released in early 2004, though has only now seen the light of day on a massive scale. Has his recent divinity tainted him as an actor? Hell no. Though shalt not type cast J.C.!
Since his “accident” with Rennie (Jim Caviezel) five years ago, Fargo (Colm Feore) has driven around the country mowing down people in his Cadillac El Dorado. After his dirty deeds, he sends the newspaper reports of his accomplishments to Rennie who sits in prison for barreling his car into Fargo’s in an act of vengence - Fargo killed his wife. Rennie, formerly a doctor, now an ex-con, is out for justice. After serving his time in prison, he’s back on the hunt for his other half’s executioner.
Molly (Rhona Mitra) is a supple little choirgirl with a dark automotive past of her own. On her way home from rehearsal with a friend, she falls victim to Fargo’s road rage, which ends up leaving several truck drivers and Molly’s friend dead, with Molly herself even more emotionally shaken. After a second altercation with Fargo, Molly joins forces with Rennie to finally put an end to Fargo’s bumper cars fetish.
Caviezel portrays “Rennie” as both a robot and an emotional wreck, and it works for the character. He can be stone faced and coarse, yet the character has a depth that is great to watch. Rhona Mitra, a british knockout whose previous credits include being the victim of the invisible peeping Kevin Bacon in Hollow Man, shows great promise. Besides being insanely hot, she actually can act too. Hot chicks who can act are such a rare thing these days, but when you find one it’s frickin’ fantastic. Twice the reason to watch, better make that thrice - Frankie Faison steps out of the Hannibal Lector prison system and into the forefront as the traffic investigator on the trail of Fargo after the attack on Molly. His character only exists to create obstacles for the characters to jump through, but Faison makes the obstacles necessary rather than blatant expostion. Then there’s Colm Feore. He doesn’t have a lot of screen time, but when he is there you won’t forget him. He is quite the creepy guy to look at.
Director Robert Harmon is no stranger to action and car chases. I still call Nowhere to Run Van Damme’s most underrated flick. Harmon has weaves this tale of cars and carnage in quite an interesting way. The action in this movie is nothing like we have seen before, not so much the chases, but the actual wrecks themselves. Dude, a horse in a tunnel? WTF?!! The viewer feels every head that hits a headlight. It's crazy and sadistic, I like that.
The film does drag a bit though. You’re constantly thinking Rennie and Molly are gonna get it on, then they don’t. The sexual tension between them is thicker than a redwood encased in a thousand pounds of steel. Yet no pay off. Grrrr...
Highwaymen has its ups and downs, but it ain’t perfect. Then again, what is? Try giving it a shot, it’s worth it, if only to find a place to indulge all the road rage one might have. I think you might dig it. If not just rent it to oogle at Rhona Mitra...yummy!
New Line Cinema has had a great track record for shelling out quality DVD releases as of late. With “Infinifilm” and their “Platinum” series, they usually never skimp on any flick. Hell, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd has a bunch of extras. Unfortunately it comes as no surprise that a movie they practically threw out theatrically, also gets sandbagged on the disc release.
No commentary? No featurettes? C’mon! These are the same folks who gave Final Destination 2 the “Infinifilm” treatment but can’t throw together something for this. No, instead they just throw on trailers for other New Line Movies. Are they trailers for new upcoming releases in theatres? No, they’re for stuff that’s already out on DVD. The Butterfly Effect, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and some other flick I forget. Is that the best they’ve got? That’s freakin’ pathetic. Shame on you New Line Cinema!!!
C.E.O. Bob Shaye and the rest of the New Line Cinema head honchos were hell bent on gypping the people seeing this flick. It’s really not a bad movie, yet no doubt come next year they’ll start grinning like their crap don’t stink when they release their latest masterpiece, Son of the Mask. This makes me want to boycott Return of the King: Extended Edition...well not really. I wouldn’t go that far.
Judge for yourself. Stick it to the man and go out and rent Highwaymen. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper then buying it, or even buying a ticket at a movie theatre. Go, rebel against the New Line system. Start now, because the wrath will continue this October when they put out their next Hilary Duff movie.