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Blu-ray Review: HARDWARE


by David Blackwell

DVD Details: 81 minutes, theatrical trailer, previews.


Last year, I rented FINAL DESTINATION 2 and saw this really cool trailer for this movie called HIGHWAYMEN. I had to watch it several times as I hope the movie would be released soon. New Line set a late August 2003 date only to delay it to December 2003, but it got pushed back again to only see limited release in the Southwest about six months ago around the same time THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST took theaters by storm.

HIGHWAYMEN is the story of Rennie Cray (Jim Caviezel) who is hunting a serial killer who ran over Cray's wife five years ago.  Cray chased after the guy and crashed his car in the killer's car.  The killer aka Fargo (a very creepy Colm Feore) ended up in the hospital and got off for killing Cray's wife while Cray served three years in jail. Now Cray is after Fargo who has made a souped-up 1972 El Dorado an extension of his own mangled body. Fargo uses his car to randomly cause accidents and run over people. Cray gets his chance to stop Fargo when there is someone is left alive. Cray decides to use the survivor, Molly (Rhona Mitra), as unwilling bait to put a stop to Fargo once and for all.

HIGHWAYMEN is a very effective (and yet simple) thriller with great cinematography by Rene Ohashi, great pacing, and another winning music score from Mark Isham. HIGHWAYMEN is en entertaining movie for 81 minutes (77 minutes if you take out the end credits). It is a movie I wish was just a little longer, but director Robert Harmon has made a movie that I like way better than THE HITCHER and this movie definitely runs the horrid THE HITCHER 2 off the road (Harmon didn't direct the sequel). The movie leaves no room for wasted minutes to pad the film's running time or go too much into the characters (beyond what is needed for the plot). I do wish they did spend a little more time on the victims Fargo killed (besides Molly's friend and Cray's wife).  HIGHWAYMEN is a tale of revenge.

VIDEO/AUDIO: The movie is available in two versions on the disc- 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen and full frame (pan and scan to fit your TV screen). The picture is clear. The colors and blacks are great. The video is impressive like with any New Line release.

You have three audio options: English 5.1 Dolby Surround, English Stereo Surround, and DTS. You have the option of English and Spanish subtitles. Close Captioning is also available. Dialogue is clear and crisp. You can hear what everyone is saying without a problem. The sound is just OK, but the music score doesn't sound that bad.

EXTRAS: The only extras are previews for other New Line movies (Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Butterfly Effect, Frequency) and the original theatrical trailer for HIGHWAYMEN (it is a trailer I haven't seen and sadly the cool trailer for this movie I watched on the FINAL DESTINATION 2 DVD (and other DVDs) isn't included on this DVD). Too bad there weren't any delted scenes of information on the making of the movie and it's troubled production history.

MENUS: The main menu shows a slide show of stills from the movie like it was being played on an old and shaky movie projector to music by Mark Isham. I have to say it is one of the coolest menu designs I have ever seen.

DVD sleeve art: It is one of those big head covers. You see Jim Caviezel's face with a spaced out look in his eyes while the real action is happening in the background. I wish they used the cool movie poster art instead for the DVD cover. You see Cray's wife on the disc art.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Sadly New Line should have given this little gem a wide release in theaters, but thankfully it has made it's way to DVD finally. HIGHWAYMEN looks likely to build a cult audience on DVD. HIGHWYAMEN is an effective thriller that is well worth renting (also it is cheap to buy at a SRP of $19.95).

this review is (c)8-10-2004 David Blackwell. This review cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content (and site updates) at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia