Anchor Bay // 2011 // 89 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // November 17th, 2011
It's her car. Don't tell her what to do.
John Bonito's direct-to-DVD thriller Carjacked is a film of epic stupidity. That's really the best way to describe this disaster of a small-screen production, which pits a brainless single mother against a wannabe criminal in a story so implausible and boring, it will make you want to never watch a kidnapping flick ever again. Okay, this statement may be a tad exaggerated, but then again, so is everything in Carjacked (Blu-ray). If you're on the lookout for some fast-paced, suspenseful entertainment, I strongly recommend you don't go down this road.
Maria Bello (Beautiful Boy) plays Lorraine, a divorced mother who struggles to take care of her eight-year-old son Chad (Connor Hill) and wrestles her way through group therapy and a bunch of legal threats from her abusive ex-husband. Money is tight as well, but then again, it doesn't seem like Lorraine is actively looking for work either.
As if things couldn't get worse, Lorraine's misery worsens when she and her kid are carjacked by Roy (Stephen Dorff, Somewhere), a stressed-out bank robber who's on the run from the law. He's supposed to meet an associate hundreds of miles away to collect his cut from their latest heist, and he's making Lorraine drive him to his final destination.
One thing you should know about Carjacked (Blu-ray) is that pretty much everything you see on the screen feels off. Whether it's the awkward dialogue or the suspicious actions and decisions the characters engage in, absolutely nothing in this film comes even close to convincing. I usually have no problems with over-the-top thrillers as long as they keep me entertained throughout, but Carjacked really takes moronic screenwriting to a new level.
While the circumstances under which Lorraine and Chad find themselves kidnapped by Roy are hardly plausible, it's Lorraine's character that repeatedly eliminates every chance the plot has to overcome filmmaking mediocrity. Even though the tough mother is presented with at least a handful of opportunities to escape as the story unfolds, she screws up every single time. When I say screw up, I don't mean she fails to escape because she's terrified or stressed out. No, she fails to escape because she's just too dumb to keep her head straight.
In one of the film's more "intense" moments, for instance, Lorraine heads to the bathroom at a rest stop while Roy and Chad start chatting about baseball. Cell phone in her hand, she tries her very best to dial 911 and whisper for help. For some inexplicable reason though, she ends up dialing 411, and it almost takes her a minute to figure out why the person on the other side of the line asks her what city she's in. Brutal, I know.
The silliness of how these characters are portrayed in the movie doesn't end there. One minute we get to see Lorraine sitting in the car, upset and afraid about what Roy may do to them, and the next we have to witness her and her kidnapper joking about heading to Mexico and starting a new life together. Instances of WTF spring up all over this mess. Unless you just turn off your TV, you'll suffer for a long 89 minutes.
Carjacked (Blu-ray) not only fails in terms of logic, but it also suffers from incredibly slow pacing. The first hour of the film is a total drag, featuring mostly overlong and irrelevant conversations between Lorraine and Roy as they're on the way to his meeting. You would expect things to get heated every once in a while, but Roy just doesn't have it in him to make scary threats. He does explode as the movie heads into its ridiculous showdown, but by then, it's way too late to take him seriously.
What starts as a kidnapping story later turns into a tale of revenge, and the final 20 minutes of Carjacked (Blu-ray) do indeed pick up the pace, even though the big final battle we're treated to fails to impress. Bello gets to kick some butt eventually, proving yet again that Lorraine is probably one of the most inconsistent movie characters of all time. The acting? I don't even want to go there.
On Blu-ray, Carjacked looks decent enough. Anchor Bay offers us a solid 2.35:1 non-anamorphic 1080p transfer boasting excellent black levels. Most of the film takes place during nighttime, but good lighting and a lack of grain give the picture a sharp, clean look. Audio options include a satisfying True-HD 5.1 track. The bonus section on the disc features a 3-minute behind-the-scenes montage of moments from the set. Nothing special.
Time is too valuable to keep complaining about Carjacked (Blu-ray), so I'll call it a day. Unnecessary, unconvincing and darn boring, John Bonito's latest flick should never have been brought to the screen. If the screenwriting fails as miserably as it does here, there's simply no need to waste time and effort. Save the gas; this one's not worth it.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 2011
MPAA Rating: Rated R