Joy Ride 3 (2014)

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We here at the ISCFC occasionally try to coin new phrases, partly because these movies often suck and it’s one of the few rays of sunshine in our lives, partly because we want to have an article written about us titled ‘the guys who brought us haha all our friends are dead’. So let’s see if this one sticks – Joy Ride 3 was made in 2014, after part 2 in 2008 and part 1 in 2001. There are two reasons that spring to mind for such a lazy franchise (lazy? “Wrong Turn” has managed six movies in less time) – first is the producers wanting to keep the rights to the name in case they could entice JJ Abrams (writer) or Paul Walker (star) to come back to it; second is some contract sub-clause promising someone three movies in at most 15 years. Either way, no-one seemed bothered about making it, and this movie is strong with the smell of “will this do?”, so we’d like to welcome you to one of our new features, “Will This Do Cinema”.

First up is a weirdly extended cannon fodder sequence where a greasy methed-out couple decide to use their CB radio to entrap a trucker, as all truckers have meth on them, only to run into Rusty Nail. Rusty is being voiced by his third different actor, having gone from the magnificent Ted Levine in part 1 to some completely nondescript no-mark. This shows, right from the off, “Will this do?” – clearly no-one making this film understood, or cared to understand, that if you’re going to continue to obscure the face of your villain, then his voice is kind of important. He just sounds like a guy now, neither scary to look at or scary to listen to. That odd pattern of speech he had has also been replaced by a series of Freddy Krueger-style quips because who cares.

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Looking at Rusty Nail is another “will this do?” moment. Our villain is a guy who has been declared dead once, so he won’t have a passport or a social security number or anything like that, presumably surviving by killing truckers and assuming their identity (or he’s got a very large supply of petrol somewhere, along with yet another truck he had stowed away). I know this is a small point, but it’s indicative of so much about this movie…all Rusty’s clothes look brand new. Crisp pair of jeans, unstained cap, pristine coat…if anyone had given a damn, they’d have at least stained them up a bit, or bought his gear from a thrift store.

I’ve not even got to the movie yet, really. A group of racers and their girlfriends are driving to Canada to compete in an event – their car is ready to go, the guys are doing all tech tests and being macho, and the two women dress themselves in tight cheesy glamour model gear to drape over the cars. Objectification in a movie is fine if it’s the womens’ idea! This sort of garbage needs to just wash over you if you’re going to make it to the end of “Joy Ride 3”.

So, they go to a truckstop, and they’re warned against driving along Highway 17, also known by the locals as “Slaughter Alley”, which doesn’t appear on their GPS systems. They do so anyway because it will take a day off their driving time. Really? A day? No-one at any point in the making of the movie felt the need to go “why don’t these people check out Slaughter Alley on the internet? I bet there’d be a Cracked list about it, at least”.

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So, the first thing they do is make a trucker jack-knife because they’re show-off idiots, the trucker is our old friend Rusty, and we’re on for yet another battle with a truck that appears to be faster than a race-car, driven by a man with supernatural powers of observation. Who’ll survive? Why are the cops trying to cover up the dozens of murders that Rusty Nail is apparently committing? Don’t worry, that last question is never answered, because that might at least be moderately interesting.

It’s just same old, same old. If you’ve ever seen a car race, those support vehicles for even the lowest-rent race team are big –they’re full of spare parts, replacement tyres, fuel, computers, and so on. This movie, in finest “will this do?” fashion, is just a small truck with no room for anything, and a flatbed trailer with a few oil cans tied to it. The cast are worthless, character-free morons, with the guys constantly telling the women to stay behind while they do the important manly work of killing the guy who’d have left them alone if they’d behaved like decent human beings for thirty seconds. Sole exception maybe being Kirsten Prout, who does as much as possible with one of the worst character arcs in modern movie history.

All these movies might as well be called “Dumbass Twentysomethings”. They rely on the people we’re supposed to be supporting behaving horribly for no reason, and the only real option is to cheer for Rusty Nail. He’s smart, extremely resourceful, will leave you alone if you don’t act like an idiot, and entirely indestructible – the fakeout “wow, he survived that?” ending is both entirely predictable and absolutely chuffing terrible.

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Talking of “Wrong Turn” as we did above, which might be the ISCFC’s next series, it turns out that this movie’s director, Declan O’Brien, also directed parts 3, 4 and 5 of that franchise. Oh dear. One can only hope that he was given better scripts in that series, but I’m going to wager he wasn’t, and we’ve got some lean times ahead.

I’d rather be tracked down on a lonely highway by a psychotic truck driver than watch this movie again.

Rating: thumbs down

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