Friday, October 10, 2008

JOY RIDE 2: DEAD AHEAD - A BADASS MOVIE REVIEW


I worked in a mom and pop video store. I know trash. I have watched a great many B-movies hoping for a little bit of good within the garbage. Lots of times, this hope is rewarded. It is no secret that JOY RIDE 2: DEAD END is a straight to video B-movie with the "trash" moniker all over it. The unfortunate part of this is that the movie truly is trash. I was hoping that I would find some of the less repulsive aspects of this trash and present them to you. This film isn't just trash, it is a fast-food bowel movement.

For the record, the original JOY RIDE is a lot of fun. Paul Walker and Steve Zahn take a lot of pain from a trucker named Rusty Nail who they play a prank on. The movie is over the line and silly. A piece of the original fun was the fact that Ted Levine gave his voice to Rusty Nail in the original. For those of you who are unversed, Ted Levine has got a strange, nasally voice. Ted Levine was the Buffalo Bill killer in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. He also has a recurring stint on tv's MONK. The truth of the matter is that I watched this JOY RIDE 2 piece of trash with the hopes of hearing Levine's voice tormenting whomever it was on the other end of the CB radio.

Levine is a no-show.

The only strength of this movie is its dialogue. But the dialogue is even fouled at times by its own attempt to be hip and cutting edge. When one character yells "Rage against the machine motherf*cker!" at a passing, dust-kicking truck, this comes off about as flat as any junior high band tuning session. It grates. Rusty Nail has some good dialogue though. He should, because he is all mouth and very little physical presence. An example of this would be when he grabs a man and pulls his jaw off on the spot and quips, "Did you see his jaw hit the floor?"

The original JOY RIDE was comedic at times and very sedate in its violence. Yes, there was violence, but a lot of the tension was ratcheted up with offscreen deeds of carnage. This new version takes the viewer front and center to several acts of violence that are so over the top that they are hard to take seriously. I as a viewer was knocked into the position of wondering how the special effect took place more than a comprehension of the conveyed dirty deed.

The opening scene features Rusty Nail and his murdering of a "lot lizard" prostitute. The scene is heartless, sadistic and exploitative beyond most reason. Here is where I have to interject an interesting fact about Rusty Nail's character. There is something strangely wrong with his sexuality. This was apparent in the first JOY RIDE and it is brought home in this mediocre sequel. The first JOY RIDE featured Rusty killing a man in a hotel room that Paul Walker had sent him to. Rusty had expected a woman there, found a man and proceeded to kill the man with extreme viciousness. Then there is a scene where Rusty commands the two male protagonists to walk into a diner while naked and order hamburgers. This is all silliness and for the most part, harmless.

The characters in the original JOY RIDE were rather dim, but likable. Lelee Sobeiski was even in the mix. She was dim too, but in the end, I believe she lived. They all made it out. However, the threat of death was throughout the film, and there was a body count. This new one has two males and two females. The body count is high and one couple is eventually erased from the quotient.

The standard horror pattern is followed. The punk/outsider mouthy kid gets taken out, and so does his slutty girlfriend. It is rather touching that they met on MYSPACE and slightly before both going their separate eternal ways, they admit that neither is like who they seemed like online.

The good girl lives through it all, with minor damage taken. The worst she has to do is a strip tease in front of Rusty Nail's truck before learning that it wasn't Rusty Nail's truck, but a different sleazy trucker who complains that, "Your titties are too small anyways! I like them super-mongo jugs! Yeah you heard me! Circus boobs!" It is a disturbing, funny piece of dialogue, and it is about par for this movie's budget.

There is no logical reason to explain why these stupid kids get caught in Rusty's web. Their car breaks down on the side of the road and they find this abandoned (?) house. They set-up is completely TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, but instead, the kids find 1971 Chevy Chevelle Hardtop. They leave a phone number and hit the road. Wouldn't you know that the house that they raided was Rusty Nail's? Wouldn't you know that he is all about vengeance, and that he will literally blow his sexy classic musclecar to bits to get his point across? Rusty Nail is a menace, but honestly, it would have been more interesting if he had managed to kill every one of these kids. The kids are expendable. The car is the only thing worth caring about here. The most painful scene in the film is the disrespect to the classic car, and not to these useless punk kids. This is horrible filmmaking.

Menacing ridiculousness ensues. Rusty demands Nik (Kyle Schmid) the "third-wave emo punk" to dress in drag and walk around a trucker outpost that looks like one of the camps in ROAD WARRIOR and ask for some crystal meth. Shades of some sort of strange rape haunt this scene with no payoff. Rusty grabs the kid and throws him into his truck during this passage. My only complaint is that they should have tried a little harder with the character development. When Nik reveals that all of his piercings and tattoos are fake, we need an explanation.

I suppose that the climax is when Rusty Nail has the two boys tied up, seated at a table playing a deranged game of craps. Rusty chainsmokes in the shadows and demands that they roll the dice. The pseudo goth kid rolls a five and Bobby the jock (Nick Zano) gets a tire jack to the kneecap. Then there is a roll of a four which means that the initials "RN" are branded into Bobby's chest and so on. The scene is overdone and hard to believe. Nik is crying and blubbering. His piercings are falling out and he is apolgizing for them being fake. Nik eventually takes a vertical rebar plunge to the skull and takes his fake tattoo and piercing secret to the grave.
What is the purpose of all of this mayhem? There is no real explanation. There is also no explanation as to how Rusty Nail survives a truck drop off of a cliff that is on par with the end of DUEL. It is a boring crash at the bottom too. They should have at least put some money up for the traditional demonic explosion, like say...the end of THE CAR.

I have nothing else to say. I have dealt with cinematic trash before, and this is definitely some of it. There is nothing special here, and believe me, I know how to find ingots of gold in a pile of feces. There is no gold here, this is the excreta of the uncreative. I am sorry I wasted my time.

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