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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Highwayman: SE
The Highwayman: SE
Sterling Entertainment // R // March 7, 2000
List Price: $24.95
Review by G. Noel Gross | posted April 17, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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CineSchlock-O-Rama

Now here's a real disappointment. The Highwayman (1999, 93 minutes) had such drive-in gold potential. Ya got the scrumptious Laura Harris who charmed all in The Faculty as Southern-honey Marybeth Louise Hutchinson. The great Canadian creep-o Stephen McHattie (possibly Lance Henriksen's long-lost brother). Plus, the Iron Eagle films' Louis Gossett Jr., and Gordon Woolvett, the gay road pizza from Bride of Chucky. But I've identified who slashed the tires on this one: lead crook Jason Priestley and screenplay scribe Richard Beattie. Jason parlayed a teen-idol gig on "Beverly Hills 90210" into a directing job on the show, that is, when he wasn't busy with his sideburn-grooming regiment. Not exactly the makings of a believable maniac thug. While Richard wrote the LAST Prom Night film and there's a REASON for that.

The movie: It's a black comedy. It's a road movie. But also a tender story about "family" ... uh huh. For some reason, the painfully annoying Ziggy (Harris) is allowed to join up with two bandits -- Breakfast (Priestley) and Panda (Bernie Coulson) -- after they rob the jewelry store she works in. She's nearing the end of a life-long search for her father, who may, or may not be Frank Drake (McHattie). And God help him if he is. To make matters worse, Frank's career is in the dumper and he begins to channel Michael Douglas in Falling Down. The whole gang somehow hits the road, to collect Drake's back pay from Phil Bishop (Gossett), and to figure out a groovy way to end the movie. Sounds riveting doesn't it?

Notables: No breasts. 12 corpses. Money burning. Gratuitous montage sequence. Jewelry-store heist. Telemarketing. Eviction via fire hose. Gratuitous flashback. Employee beating. Gratuitous flashforward. Pepper spray to the eyes. Shotgun attack. Exploding house. Sleep driving. Axe to the spine. Hopscotch playing. Gratuitous slow-mo. Two-fisted gun shooting. Gratuitous fast-mo. Bike riding. Gunshot to the leg. Slight-of-hand trick.

Quotables: Lou Gossett gets to the point, "I need you like I need a turd in a swimming pool."

Time codes: Wacky car and scooter chase (3:45). Bishop delivers a motivational speech (17:00). Firearms enthusiast's T-shirt: "Gun control means using two hands" (26:50). Brandon 90120 emotes (58:20).

Audio/Video: Crisp, but rarely interesting Dolby 2.0 and 5.1 audio. Mostly sharp widescreen (1.85:1) print, but night scenes are very spotty.

Extras: The commentary track with director Keoni Waxman and Jason Priestley is relaxed, but less than informative. Listen as Jason heralds all-things Canadian. Behind-the-scenes featurette. Theatrical trailer. Cast and crew bios. Not that it matters, but keepcase artwork features Porsches -- there aren't any in the movie.

Final thought: A tediously fractured and rarely amusing flick. Stephen McHattie is the most interesting to watch. Rent it.

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G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.

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