The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

ROADGAMES (1981) **

Did you ever get bored on a long car trip and play 20 Questions?  Well, that’s what happens to Stacy Keach in this movie.  He stars as a truck driver hauling a mess of pork through the Australian outback who picks up any hitchhiker who will play with him.  When he gets bored with that game, he starts pretending that the guy in the green van he keeps passing is the serial killer the radio’s been warning about.  Turns out he’s right…. DEAD right. 


Director Richard Franklin was obsessed with Alfred Hitchcock so he puts a whole bunch of clever nods to The Master in Roadgames.  Not only does he use the same kind of camera set-ups as Hitch, he even manages to give Hitchcock a cameo on the cover of a magazine.  Plus, there is even a main character nicknamed “Hitch”, just in case you didn’t catch on.


I don’t know.  I appreciated all the nods to Hitchcock but that doesn’t necessarily make it effective.  Roadgames has it’s share of moments to be sure (like the atmospheric opening murder), yet the stuff in between ain’t particularly all that great.  The problem is that Franklin gives us one too many lulls in the action and relies heavily on corny stalling tactics (like the longish scene in the roadhouse).  The finale also leaves something to be desired, but I did like the ever-so stylish sequence where the sleep-deprived Keach starts hallucinating like a sonofabitch.


The thing that keeps you watching is Stacy Keach.  He has a tough job of playing most of his dialogue off of a mangy dingo.  Somehow he manages to remain likable; even when he’s mumbling most of his lines to himself.  Jamie Lee Curtis is OK in the role of Hitch.  She’s just kinda “the girl” and isn’t given a whole lot to do.


Franklin later got to live out his Hitchcock wet dream when he directed Psycho 2.


AKA:  Road Games.  AKA:  Truck Driver.

Tags: r, thriller

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