Synopsis: After their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere four friends must find a way back to civilization. But their plan soon arouses the malice of Rusty Nail – a murderous, vengeful trucker with an insatiable appetite for gruesome mutilation and sadistic pain – and he’ll stop at nothing to ensure they pay their toll… one body part at a time!
Remember the line from Spaceballs when Lone Starr asks if he’ll ever see Yogurt again? I can’t help but think of Yogurt’s response ‘Who knows? God willing, we’ll all meet again in Spaceballs 2: The Search for More Money’ when trying to form a logical reason why Joy Ride 2 needed to exist. This is a direct to video sequel that came out seven years after the first one so I’m fairly certain average movie goers weren’t taking part in write-in campaigns for another heaping helping of roadside carnage. Most likely 20th Century Fox managed to pick up some form of kickbacks in terms of video rentals but it wasn’t ‘The Search For More Money’ Dead Ahead could’ve made if it was a full blown theatrical release. That and considering neither Paul Walker, Leelee Sobieski or Steve Zahn lost a wink of sleep over not returning to what was now evolving into a fourth rate horror franchise. I will say that I’m surprised that Steve Zahn did not return since his star certainly wasn’t as recognizable as Walker’s or Sobieski’s and a paycheck in any form is still a paycheck. The only thing that did predictably transfer over Rusty Nail and his morbid fascination with playing cruel games with any set of travelers dumb enough to fall into his traps.
Aside from being typical direct to video fare Joy Ride 2’s pacing is surprisingly straight forward and to the point whereas the original took a little too long to develop it was like director Louis Morneau knew he was under the gun to keep everything moving along on a rapid fire trajectory. Unfortunately the rest of the movie goes downhill from here on out where Joy Ride 1 focused on being a fun but flawed Saturday matinee thriller Dead Ahead miserably attempts going into slasher territory where you have four completely unlikable leads who do nothing more than irritate everything they come in contact with. There is such a category known as the likable a-hole but when every character is written without a lick of common sense why is anyone going to give a sh*t what happens to them? Oh and if you thought reincorporating CB radios into the 21st century was out of place watch Dead Ahead and try not to grit your teeth every time someone mentions MySpace. Seven years after the popularity bubble on that social network burst being reminded of it makes me want to curl up in a ball and withdraw from the rest of the world. Although I do wonder if Tom Anderson was hitch hiking through Nevada would Rusty Nail offer him a lift. Now that would actually be a Joy Ride movie I’d thoroughly enjoy sitting through – Rusty Nail vs. MySpace Tom: Social Skidmarks.
Final Grade: D