Actors: Jesse Hutch, Ken Kirzinger, Dean Armstrong, Ben Hollingsworth
Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, Color, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled, Widescreen
Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Number of discs: 2
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: June 17, 2014
Run Time: 96 minutes
I truly had no idea that there was even a Joy Ride 2, in all honesty, but Joy Ride 3 is pretty much exactly what I would expect from a low-budget sequel to the long-forgotten road rage thriller scribed by J.J. Abrams. Normally I don’t even think that it matters too much who directs these trashy grabs for cash in the home entertainment department of successful studios, but the fact that Joy Ride 3 is written and directed by Declan O’Brien is telling of the quality to be expected. O’Brien’s filmography is filled with low-budget horror, but his most significant credits include three straight-to-video sequels of another moderately popular thriller from the past; Wrong Turn.
Just as he leeched on the success of another successful horror franchise, O’Brien has done the same here. The villains turn from mysterious killers to caricatures of gore, and Joy Ride 3 begins with the gruesome demise of a few junkies to let audiences know what kind of splatter-fest this will be. Rusty Nail is no longer the mysterious unseen trucker, and now is just a near-superhuman machine of bloody destruction on one specific stretch of desolate road.
There is truly no reason to go into great detail about the plot of Joy Ride 3, because it all comes down to creative road-related deaths. A group of twenty-something adults make the mistake of rude driving on their road trip to a street race competition called Road Rally 1000. When they cut off Rusty Nail for no reason other than arrogance, it sets off a cat-and-mouse chase along the highway. Giving a random reason for the killer truck driver to catch up with them once is all that is needed. He kidnaps one of their friends and uses this bait to continue the altercation far longer than even a 90-minute film can make believable.
The sad thing about O’Brien’s film is how much of it is actually competently made. It looks good and the acting is surprisingly competent among the actors who keep their clothes on, despite a horrendous amount of throwaway dialogue. I’m afraid that O’Brien is a far better director than he is a screenwriter, and yet this is hardly a compliment. There are also many technical issues with the direction, including continuity and logic, but all of this is far less noticeable than idiotic decisions made by the protagonists as they avoid the destruction of the killer truck driver.
The Blu-ray release includes several useless featurettes, including one about the random search for a bit player shown in one forgettable scene early in the film. There are also some informational features, from the director’s video diaries to an audio commentary track. There is also a featurette about the film’s latest story elements, and some other odds and ends that prove more effort went into documenting the making of the film than constructing the screenplay.
Entertainment Value: 5.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 4/10
Historical Significance: 0/10