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  1. #1
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    Apr 2002

    A DVD REVIEW: JOY RIDE - SPECIAL EDITION (20th Century Fox/Regency)

    Did this ever debut theatrically, because I honestly dont remember it.......

    At any rate, if there ever was a film to make you think twice about using your CB radio to **** with someone, Joy Ride is it. This little sleeper of a thriller went largely unnoticed by the public until its appearance on DVD, and I never even knew about it until my ex sat me down to watch it --- and I was immediately hooked. I picked this great little thriller up on DVD today at Wal Mart for $7 which is well worth it. Same thing happened with the next disc I am going to review, Knockaround Guys; she is the one (that ***** that I now hate who was cheating on me) that got me into both films. Sorry if I digress......

    Although released by a major studio such as 20th Century Fox, Joy Ride plays more like a made-for-cable thriller or direct-to-video chiller or something along those lines; but its premise is pretty original, and hasnt been tapped into since perhaps the times of Steven Spielberg's first film, Duel. Paul Walker (The Fast and The Furious) and Steve Zahn (National Security, Crimson Tide) star in this thriller about a deranged truck driver (is it only ME that finds it ironic that here we have Paul Walker in yet another plot regarding a car and some kind of chase and him behind the wheel?) and his obsession with getting revenge on these two brothers who pretend to come onto him on a CB radio as a woman --- let me explain. Walker's character is heading to pick up his girlfriend (a deliciously sexy looking Leelee Sobieski) from college during break (and oh Holy **** does she look REALLY hot in an opening scene where she is lying in her dorm room bed in these really sexy brown panties and a tank top barely covering her tits talking to Walker on the phone --- what a BODY on this chick, you will be thinking as a red blooded American male, as the camera pans from her perfect ass to around the front of that delicious looking body), when he learns that his brother (Zahn) is in jail and to stop and pick him up along the way would be right on schedule with Walker's road trip. Picking his brother up and bailing him out of prison, Walker and Zahn get on the road and along the way pick up a CB radio to add to Walker's beat down jalopy of a car he bought just so he can go see Sobieski. As they drive, Zahn is obsessed with messing with other truckers on the road over the CB radio by disguising his voice; he gets Walker to pretend he is a female truck driver and gets the attention of a trucker named "Rusty Nail" who believes he is actually talking to a woman. The two brothers are just fooling around, but when they stop at a motel along the way, and get back on the CB and tell "Rusty Nail" to meet this made-up woman in the very room next to them at the motel, their trouble just begins.

    The trucker actually shows up and ends up killing the guy in the room next door to Zahn and Walker, who they had an altercation with in the lobby of the motel; at this point, this demented trucker is so obsessed with teaching Zahn and Walker a lesson about "messing" with people on a CB, that he stalks them in his truck, threatens them on the CB radio in his creepy "Rusty Nail" voice and even begins to get personally involved in their lives as the film gets more tension filled --- once Walker and Zahn pick up Sobieski, they are quickly stalked again on the road by Rusty Nail, and when they are ordered to go to an empty cornfield, Sobieski is abducted --- along with her roommate friend from college who somehow already got kidnapped ---- by the truck driver, who tells the two brothers (still over the CB) to meet him at EXACTLY 12 midnight in a certain motel room in the next town or they will never see the girl this point in the film, which is towards the end and was a bit dissapointing in that we actually get glimpses of the demented trucker's face (it would have been creepier if we DIDNT see him, as in Steven Spielberg's Duel), the trucker has tied Sobieski up to the door of the motel room she has been abducted in and rigged a shotgun to go off once the door is broken down or opened by Zahn and Walker, which would kill Sobieski obviously. As the climax of the film approaches and boils over, the police arrive just in time (because of a call the demented truck driver made to the cops, reporting dead bodies which HE left in the motel) as Zahn and Walker get Sobieski away from the exploding shotgun just as the cops bust in the the meantime, the trucker has other plans to get rid of Zahn and Walker, as he drives the cab of his truck like a madman right at them, even with the police shooting at the truck, and directly through the motel room --- its a pretty wild scene, and sounds AWESOME in Dolby 5.1 on this DVD, but I'll get to that in a bit.

    The ending of the film is pretty great because it has a nice twist --- the demented trucker really isnt dead inside the cab of the truck after he crashes into the motel, as we learn when one of the cops say he was "just an ice delivery guy" when Walker asks who he seems earlier in the film, the trucker ran right into an ice delivery truck, killing the driver, while he was chasing Zahn and Walker, and he planted this guy's body in the truck that was crashed into the motel at the the ambulance they are being treated in, Walker and Zahn hear "Rusty Nail"'s voice on the CB once more, meaning he is still out there.......perhaps this was setting up a sequel, but so far, there has been no Joy Ride 2. It was a nice, creepy twist on the ending.

    But as I said, perhaps one of the largest downfalls of Joy Ride is the fact that the villian --- in this case, a twisted, psycho truck driver --- is actually shown toward the end of the film; it would have been a lot more effective if we never saw him but yet only heard his creepy "Rusty Nail" CB radio voice --- somehow seeing him made the end of this film feel out of place with the rest of the creepy pacing. Spielberg did this right in his Duel, where he never showed the face of that crazy gas truck driver chasing the salesman.

    Zahn and Walker work together well here, as Zahn's hilarious sarcasm comes in loud and clear through his character; Walker plays a slightly more grown-up roll than the "Brian O Connor" character from the Fast and the Furious films, yet neither of these performances are memorable, and you wont find yourself wishing this film had been nominated for an Academy Award --- by a long shot. But if you can find this title for the $7 deal I got at Wal Mart, its a good addition to your DVD library for brainless fun on a lonely night. The video and audio alone are WELL WORTH the price of the DVD, as both are almost flawless and stellar in their delivery, especially for such a low-rent, questionably theatrical title like this.

    There is a 29-minute alternate ending of the film on this Special Edition, plus FOUR other alternative endings on the extra features of the DVD; especially noteworthy is a scene in the film when the demented trucker orders the boys and Sobieski to go to a truck stop, where he then tells them the two of them need to get out of their car completely naked and go into the coffee shop at the truck stop, sit at the counter, and order 12 cheeseburgers for some odd reason --- its a pretty funny scene in the film, although not meant to be because the trucker's point of doing this to the boys is to teach them about being the brunt of a joke and how it feels; it actually does make a point. But when we see Zahn and Walker get out of the car naked, with the hair on their asses obviously shaven down for the film, its pretty hilarious. Zahn even makes a comment to the trucker on the CB: "look.....if we go in there.....dick's hangin......they're just gonna call the cops....."


    An absolutely GORGEOUS transfer from 20th Century Fox here for a somewhat unnoticed title; the print seems pristine and flawless, with great colors jumping off the screen, except for some small portions of the film toward the end when the characters are running through a cornfield --- there is some SLIGHT video noise and dirt in these scenes on the blades of corn, and SOME very rare dark interior shots get a BIT fuzzy, but nothing to distract here --- a great effort from 20th Century Fox and a DVD just beautiful to look at. Letterboxing was correct at 2:35:1 on my 55" screen set on STANDARD mode.


    Wow, is this Dolby 5.1 track active --- and I mean ACTIVE ---- from the moment the film starts, the entire soundstage wraps around you; there is an ever-present thumping of LFE on the track and there are some downright explosive moments of bass on the track that will definitely shake your walls. Whenever one of the big semi-tractor trailer trucks roar onscreen, the audio accompanies it, with RUMBLING LFE and surround channel activity, drawing you right into the middle of this film --- suprisingly active Dolby Digital mix which sounds almost like a DTS mix if you were blindfolded. The sequence at the end, where the deranged trucker drives his truck into the motel sounds INCREDIBLY real on this mix, and if your system is up high enough, you'll be ducking from what you think is debris falling on your head from the sounds of the exploding building around you; VERY nice audio work here, and a definite look at what Dolby Digital --- and surround sound in general --- can do for enhancing the motion picture experience beyond watching a film through your TV's speakers.

    One problem though, was the dialogue, once was very low compared to the action onscreen, but after awhile, I found a comfortable level to leave the receiver at where dialogue and effects were rather balanced --- but be forewarned: this Dolby track is OVERTLY active in certain places and will absolutely blow you away if your volume is turned up high enough to compensate for the low dialogue.

    But a GREAT Dolby Digital mix in general, and you should know by now that I dont usually say that about the big "DD" and their encoded discs as compared to those with DTS.

    Also check out the 29-minute alternate ending of the film, which is interesting, plus the four "shocking new endings in all".
    Last edited by Lexmark3200; 07-11-2005 at 02:08 AM.

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