Saturday, April 13, 2013
Joy Ride. B+
If you thought Super 8 was J.J. Abrams' first attempt at channeling Steven Spielberg, think again. There is a little mostly forgotten thriller released back in 2001 called Joy Ride co-written by Abrams that clearly is inspired by Spielberg's debut feature, Duel. The movie tells the story of two traveling brothers (a typically lousy Paul Walker and a typically fun Steve Zahn) whose prank on a truck driver goes too far and are then relentlessly pursued by him. I haven't done the research, but I imagine Abrams had a lot to do with the script and had Duel in mind while he wrote it. But like Super 8, Abrams is such a good storyteller that any Spielberg emulations never come across as cheap inspiration. This is highly entertaining thriller that gives us good, well-developed characters and offers a number of quite terrifying sequences. It's all pure craft in the highest order. You finish it and think wow, Abrams and director John Dahl sure know how to make a movie.