Breakdown (1997) – Blu-Ray Review

Everyone knows I dig me some Kurt Russell. He’s just such an awesome actor, and has seemed to be consistently working since he was a child, and still seems like a down to earth kind of guy that you just want to hang out with. He really is able to embody that everyman sensibility while still seeming incredibly awesome. So I will quite happily dig into his filmography any old time, and this time, it’s Breakdown, which just got itself a new blu-ray update.

Ignoring the horrible new cover for Paramount Picture’s 1997 thriller, the disc boasts a bevy of new extras that make up for the poor choice of sleeve art.

The film itself follows Jeff (Russell) and his wife, Amy (Kathleen Quinlan) as they head across country to a new life on the west coast. But when their car breaks down on a remote highway, their trouble is just beginning. When a trucker (J.T.Walsh) shows up with the offer of help, the couple think they are saved, but while Jeff waits for Amy to return for help, he discovers their car was tampered with, and that his wife may have been taken!

It’s a tense thriller as we follow Jeff in his pursuit, and with such a solid cast, this one still remains a lot of fun. In fact, I remember when this one first came out, and while I don’t remember it making a big spash at the theatre, in our store in Kingston, this was the movie to get when it hit video, everyone wanted to see it, our reservation list for it was huge!

But it’s never been this good, or this packed with extras (and this is why I continue to love physical media!).

A new 4K scan with director Jonathan Mostow’s approval brings the images to a sharper clarity than they have been before, and the disc is rounded it out with tons of new features, including two I really dig: a brand new commentary featuring Mostow and Russell (yes please!), and an isolated score which lets you enjoy the music of Basil Poledouris, a Filmmaker Focus with Mostow, an interview with Quinlan, a conversation with Martha De Laurentiis who served as one of the film’s producers, and an alternate opening to the film with optional commentary.

Mostow proves he’s a solid director, I fondly remember this film, and U-571, and was excited when I heard he was attached to direct Terminator 3, Russell just exudes charisma and star power, and Quinlan has always delivered perfectly on point performances that I have always enjoyed (especially Apollo 13 and Event Horizon).

Sure, the film deserved better sleeve art, but this is definitely a case of don’t just the book by the cover, the disc and its contents are totally worth it!

Breakdown is available on blu-ray now from Paramount Canada!

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