Kurt Russell as Jeffrey 'Jeff' Taylor
Kathleen Quinlan (w/Kurt Russell) as Amy Taylor
J.T. Walsh as Warren 'Red' Barr
Story by Jonathan Mostow
Screenplay by Jonathan Mostow and Sam Montgomery
Breakdown is what I like to call a ‘go to’ film. It’s one of those movies that you’ve seen before and you know what’s going to happen and how it’s going to end; and yet you still find yourself watching it again when you can’t find anything else to watch. Sure, it has its flaws; it draws a little too much comparison to The Vanishing
and the characters are just a tad too stereotypical. The worst crime that the film commits is that it requires an act of stupidity to get the plot rolling in the first place. No husband-I repeat-NO
husband in his right mind is going to let his wife get into a vehicle with a total stranger and vice-versa. Either they both go or they both stay despite the consequences.
The strength of Breakdown lies in the ability of its stars to make their characters interesting despite their lack of depth. Kurt Russell is one of our most reliable actors, capable of taking any role given to him and making it believable.
Before his untimely death in 1998, JT Walsh was the actor for hire when it came to playing good old boys with just a trace of slime to their underbellies. Roles like ‘Red’ Barr and his short but memorable character in Sling Blade are a testament to this.
Breakdown isn’t perfect and we don’t expect it to. What it is, is entertaining. That’s all we could ever expect of it.
The original opening in the script shows Jeff Taylor as a photographer in an unnamed war-torn area. He blames himself for the death of a woman, and upon returning to America, quits freelancing and takes a job in San Diego
Red’s (‘JT Walsh”s) 18-wheeler is visible in the background behind Earl (M.C. Gainey) when he first approaches Jeff at the gas station.
Red’s truck is a Peterbilt 377.