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Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Retro Review: Exit Speed (2008)

Exit Speed
Cast: Fred Ward, Desmond Harington, Lea Thompson, Julie Mond, Gregory Jbara
Genre: Action

Plot: On Christmas Eve, ten strangers board a bus travelling across Texas. Far out in the wilds, they collide with a meth-addicted biker

'Z/B-Movie Action Offering That Is Rather Decent'

A low-budget action film that is a mash-up of Jan De Bont's Speed with Biker Boys, Exit Speed is another variation of the vehicle-based action flicks that sees a group of bus passengers bordering across Texas heading to El Paso, when they are confronted by a Meth-addicted biker who goes on to attack and take on each one of those passengers, as well as take out the bus driver. After the driver kills the biker, the other bikers look to seek revenge, thus forcing the other passengers off the road. They then take refuge in a scrap yard but no sooner do the bikers find them again, that the passengers find themselves under siege and are forced to take the law into their own hands and to fight back. 

Part-action, part human-interest drama, the premise is simple and not complicated to follow and is effective. The film wastes no time throwing in one action scene to another and when it does so, it's good. 

The effects are really good, what with the budget given and it seems as though they made the most out of it. The action is solid and at best, ranging from adequate to decent, but again, this is what one should expect from a low budget, straight-to-DVD flick. 

Watching Lea Thompson of Back To The Future & Caroline In The City, she is the most established name on the bill, yet she is not exactly a method actor; I don't know, I'm in two minds with her being in this film. Action is not really her forte and I don't associate these types of movies with her. But at the same time, seeing her here was a surprise and not something I'd expect. I didn't like it when she went ''I have children!'' as she strangled that female biker; I thought that was a bit too overdramatic for my tastes. I was cringing by that point. The other stock character performances were sub to below par.

Other issues I had were the bikers, characterisation-wise is bereft that it makes you not want to care so much for them or the protagonists, some of the scenes were a little too eccentric that bordered on ridiculous and the tension is sterile. But aside from that, the movie wasn't by any means boring. You have a non-English speaking Spanish elderly guy, who is like Q from James Bond/Maguyver making weapons out of objects, a chick who is a lot like Jennifer Lawrence's character from The Hunger Games, & can fire a bow and arrow very well, as well as a female army officer. 

The stunt-bike actors are what makes this film (as not very believable as they were, acting-wise) and without them, not only would Exit Speed not work as well, it wouldn't be as watchable, either. 

Final Verdict:

Those looking for a cinematic, Hollywood blockbuster should look elsewhere, as you will not find it here. Some will or may question Lea Thompson's inclusion- despite the limited script, some decent action, a few surprises that spring out of nowhere & it's nice to see a bunch of strangers coming and working together to defeat the bad guys. As far as B-action films go, Exit Speed is a pleasant surprise, if nothing special and as run-of-the-mill as it is, it still delivers from beginning to end, as it was entertaining. And for that alone, that is good enough for me. 

Exit Speed is the Hallmark/Lifetime Channel equivalent of Speed, & yet of which isn't too shabby. 

If you enjoyed films like Speed, and are more into the action side of things, this should do the trick.


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