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Artisan Home Entertainment presents
Joyride (1996)

"I'm sorry, I thought I heard a 'NO!'"
- Lee Anne Smith (Christina Naify) after beating an attacker who was trying to rape her friend

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: October 20, 2002

Stars: Tobey Maguire, Amy Hatthaway
Other Stars: Benicio Del Toro, Wilson Cruz, Adam West
Director: Quinton Peeples

Manufacturer: WAMO
MPAA Rating: R for violence, sexuality, and strong language
Run Time: 01h:03m:54s
Release Date: September 24, 2002
UPC: 012236130208
Genre: suspense thriller

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B- C-B+B D-

DVD Review

With the enormous success of Spiderman, audiences are at last seeing the true talent that actor Tobey Maguire possesses. From The Ice Storm to the undeniably brilliant Pleasantville, Maguire has a sort of golden innocence in his performances that few surpass. Before he broke into the top of the young talent pool, Maguire made a low-budget thriller called Joyride, a film that is getting a renewed attention, due to the actor's new popularity.

In Joyride Maguire plays J.T., a motel clerk in a small town in Southern Florida. When a stranger (Hathaway) checks into the motel, J.T. and his friend James (Cruz) decide that the best course of action is to steal the beautiful car that the mystery woman came driving up in. The only catch is that the woman happens to be an assassin, and there is a dead body stuffed in the trunk. Soon the guys are being chased by the stranger as well as an embittered detective (Benicio Del Toro) and it is only a question of who will be driving the car when the credits roll.

Stripped down to its most basic parts, this film resembles the sort of low quality movies made to be shown late at night on some minor cable channel, but the performances by the cast make Joyride something slightly more deserving. Maguire is fine as J.T., but mostly a bit too coy for the part. In recent years, the actor found a way to work the sort of meek aspect of his personality into his roles, but here it feels out of place. Look for a small cameo by Adam West as the hustling father of the Hathaway character. Holy casting Batman, you're a pimp!

One of the largest flaws of Joyride is that the filmmaker doesn't seem to know when to end things. I am not one for laying resolutions out on the table with a nice bow, but that is precisely what Joyride needs. The picture throws too many things at us upfront; in the end, only a select few are resolved and the viewer is left wondering about numerous subplots and their resolutions. Writer/director Quinton Peeples has an assured video style that elevates the low-budget style to work in favor of the film; it is a shame that his script was not as polished.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: The full-frame transfer for Joyride is one of the better efforts made for a straight-to-video movie, though it is clear from the look of the opening credits that the picture was made to be seen in widescreen. Colors are bright and nicely done as the reds and blues of Southern Florida come off looking very good with no apparent bleeding present. Sharpness and detail are fine, though I noticed some grain in several spots. Overall the transfer is adequate, but nothing remarkable.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Surround track is largely based in the center channel, though the surround speakers do come alive to back up the rock music used often in the film. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout, with no distortion, while the left and right speakers do a nice job of adding ambience.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Packaging: Alpha
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: Static, themed menu screens are the sole extra feature on this DVD.

Extras Grade: D-


Final Comments

For a low rent thriller, Joyride has style but the script has too many "cooks in the kitchen," bouncing from one unresolved element of the plot to another. I enjoyed the performances by Maguire and especially Del Toro enough to recommendation this movie if it comes across on late night cable, but nothing more.


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