MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -3

Jeff and Amy Taylor (Kurt Russell and Kathleen Quinlan) have spent most of their savings on a brand new jeep for their move from Massachusetts to California. Soon after the jeep mysteriously stalls in a desolate part of the Southwest, along comes Red Barr (J.T. Walsh) in his 18-wheeler and offers them a ride to a nearby roadside cafe. Jeff hesitates to leave the car, so Amy agrees to go with Red and call for a tow truck. Jeff discovers the car's problem and manages to get it started, but his wife isn't waiting for him at the cafe. Desperate and frightened, Jeff survives relentless life-threatening dangers as he becomes caught in a web of thieves and extortionists who prey on unsuspecting travelers. No mortal could survive what Jeff endures in his search for Amy. In one scene he runs after an 18-wheeler, climbs underneath the speeding vehicle and works his way up to the cab. Keep in mind this is a 40-something businessman, not a marathon runner or body builder. With its abundant action and danger, Breakdown will probably entertain thrill-seekers, but many viewers will find this constant tension exhausting.

Incessant violence used to entertain is irresponsible filmmaking. Jeff is terrorized by the demonic Red and his equally cruel cohorts as they force him to drive his jeep into a raging river, shoot at him and beat him. The scary part is that the villains enjoy picking innocent victims to torture. Jeff fights back viciously in his attempts to rescue Amy, inflicting bloody wounds on his attackers. A young boy grabs his father's rifle and aims it at Jeff as his father urges him to kill the stranger. In a climactic scene Red and Jeff match nerves in a wild chase scene that leaves an 18-wheeler and a pickup truck dangling off a bridge with the drivers inside. Meanwhile, many obscenities and profanities are spewed out by all. There are no sex scenes and no nudity, although Amy's tight-fitting tee shirt is revealing. Breakdown stalls out with its theme of violence and its gratuitous foul language.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Paramount Pictures, 15 Columbus Circle, NY, NY 10023-7780

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (20) times Mild 6, Moderate 14

Obscene Language: Many (26) times (s-word 7, f-word 19)

Profanity: Several (8) times All Regular (G-d 5, C 2, G 1)

Violence: Many times Moderate and Severe (bloody beatings, shootings, life-threatening car chases, man stalked by terrorists, man trapped in car in raging river; woman buried alive in box; car crashes, child points gun at man, vehicles with passengers inside dangling off bridge)

Sex: None

Nudity: None, but near nudity (woman in revealing tee shirt)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Some beer drinking

Other: None

Running Time: 95 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.