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Joy Ride 3: Road Kill (2014)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 6/17/2014
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 6/16/2014
"What do you want to watch?" It's a question that we've all asked someone -- our significant other, our friends, our cat (?!). When it's time to watch a movie, it's time to watch a movie and the decision making can often be an arduous process. The sad thing is that instead of actually working on a decision or compromising, some people will simply pick whatever is available, which is often not what most of us would consider to be a fun choice. This is why, despite the death of the video store, we continue to see weak direct-to-video sequels. One would hope that viewers would have learned to avoid these movies, but as Joy Ride 3: Road Kill proves, they apparently haven't.
Joy Ride 3 introduces us to race-car driver Jordan (Jesse Hutch) who is preparing for an upcoming race with the help of his crew -- Mickey (Ben Hollingsworth), Austin (Gianpaolo Ventura), Bobby (Jake Manley), Jewel (Kirsten Prout) and Alisa (Leela Savasta). They take off cross-county and despite a warning from a trucker at a diner, they decide to use a shortcut. While testing the car on the highway, they make the mistake of cutting off the truck driven by Rusty Nail (Ken Kirzinger). They have no idea that Rusty is an insane serial killer and what seemed like a harmless accident, soon becomes a game of cat-and-mouse on the highway, as Rusty pursues the racers. Once he catches up with them, Jordan realizes that no one can help them against this insane king of the road.
Typically when I tell my wife that we will be watching a movie with a number in the title, especially a large number, she'll ask about prior entries in the series. So, when I said, "We're watching Joy Ride 3.", I had expected her to say, "Was there a Joy Ride 2?". Instead, she said, "Was there a Joy Ride?" Yes, this is one of the stranger modern series, as the entries are spaced apart. Joy Ride, which was a theatrical release with recognizable actors (and a script co-written by J.J. Abrams!) came out in 2001. Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead (which I have not seen) arrived in 2008, going straight-to-video. Now, six years after that, we get another sequel. The studios usually like to crank these movies out as quickly as possible, and given how bland the Joy Ride series is, one would think that they would try to keep the series fresh in the minds of gullible viewers.
Yes, there is not a lot going on in this film, in several realms. First of all, there is very little story. The group is going to some vague race when they run afoul of Rusty Nail. There is no character development and we get no idea of what the history of these people is. Once they do anger the mad trucker, the movie then simply becomes a series of chase scenes and arguments. When Writer/Director Declan O'Brien tries to create suspense, we are left with confusing scenes which cut back and forth between the killer and Jordan's group (I swear he killed the same guy twice.) There's also the ridiculous feeling that Rusty Nail can be everywhere at once. It's bad enough when Jason Voorhees can walk behind a running victim and catch them, but when the killer is able to pounce unexpectedly from an 18-wheeler, something has gone wrong. Speaking of Rusty Nail, he is certainly a leading candidate for most boring villain ever. He's simply a truck driver who kills people, apparently for kicks. In Joy Ride, at least we had Ted Levine providing the ominous voice of the killer. Here, Rusty Nail has no personality at all.
The odd thing about this movie is that while it is utterly lacking in the story and character department, someone did put some work into it. The opening sequence is completely ludicrous and unbelievable, but it's obvious that O'Brien attempted to go above and beyond in this scene. There is a similar scene later in the film, where Rusty Nail's plan to kill someone looks like something out of a Saw movie. There is also some impressive stuntwork with the chase scenes. (Although, I must question the car which split in two before the truck actually hit it.) The question with Joy Ride 3: Road Kill is "What did you come here to watch?" This unrated cut does contain some gore, but it's not really over-the-top. The muddled story is rarely interesting and contains no real twists or turns. Again, the chase scenes are well-done for a low-budget film like this, but they're nothing we haven't seen before. So, we are left with a very hollow movie which leaves me wondering who keeps buying or renting these films and what will it take to get them to stop? Oh, and since when is a four-door race car cool?
Joy Ride 3: Road Kill taught me that I know nothing about the top speed of big rigs on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 19 Mbps. The picture is sharp and clear, showing just a hint of grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is pretty good and the depth is adequate. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 5.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The surround sound and subwoofer effects really come to life during the chase scene and we feel as if the truck is all around us. The stereo effects do an excellent job of illustrating sounds moving from side-to-side on the screen.
The Joy Ride 3: Road Kill Blu-ray Disc contains a surprisingly large number of extras. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Declan O'Brien. "Riding Shotgun with Declan: Director's Die-Aries" (9 minutes) is a four-part fearturette which is composed of on-set video that details the shooting of specific scenes. "Jewel's Message" (1 minute) is apparently a promotional piece, but plays more like a deleted scene. "Road Rage: The Blood, Sweat, and Gears of Joy Ride 3" (12 minutes) is a fairly basic making of that offers on-set footage and comments from the cast and creative team. The piece looks at the story and the special effects. The Disc contains three DELETED SCENES which run about 6 minutes. "Pre-Vis Sequences" (7 minutes) shows us how toy cars were used to plan the stunt shots. "Finding Large Marge" (4 minutes) examines the casting of the diner waitress.
Review Copyright 2014 by Mike Long