This movie isn’t titled right. Technically, if you stretch it, maybe it would be considered a carjacking. For good ol’ bank robber Roy (Stephen Dorff), the reality is he’s doing some kidnapping tonight. Either Kidnapped was copyrighted, or Carjacked had more oomph to it.
Regardless, this total clunker fails the second the box art met paper, a disastrous template for a “woman fights back” flick, only here, the woman shows signs of falling for the guy holding her at gunpoint. You can’t make this stuff up. Roy and Lorraine (Maria Bello) chat about the agony in their lives, have a laugh at the expense of Lorraine’s ex-husband, and even have a couple of moments with Lorraine’s own son. He’s in the backseat during this kidnapping run.
There’s no way to sugar coat Lorraine’s unequivocal idiocy through this journey, Roy headed for the border after a bank robbery. She confuses 911 with 411, not only unable to dial three numbers, but also incapable of wondering why the 911 operative is asking for her location before, “What is your emergency?” Roy takes a few strolls away from the car in public places, namely carry outs (this movie adores convenience stores), Lorraine unable to see her clear out.
Carjacked itself has about as much of a clue as Lorraine, the wonky editing piecing together random conversation for some filler while on the road. Chatter is well past exposition, go so far as to reiterate marital struggles, financial concerns, and sloppy parenting that the opening jump cuts took care of. Roy and Lorraine are flat out polite to each other, turmoil entering as she tries for various escapes which put everyone’s life in danger, even her sons.
Pieced together, Carjacked barely has energy to make it to 90-minutes, seven minutes of book-end credits making it feature length. Even then it re-inserts the same location footage three times, a small slice of road with a forest lining it a common stopping point. Maybe this is a movie about driving in circles; the repetitious footage of scrolling roads would indicate such. It would be appropriate too, Carjacked never feeling like it’s going anywhere until its breakout finale, the precursor being more ludicrous phone shenanigans. Apparently the 411 fiasco wasn’t enough.
Captured digitally, Carjacked benefits from healthy, slick black levels, crucial when considering the length of time spent inside the car at night. There’s appreciable depth to each shot, shadow detail maintained.
Much of this direct-to-video dud is covered with a sickly yellow tint, botching flesh tones to match some type of quirky color scheme. Whatever the case, making the kid look jaundiced doesn’t do much for authenticity or tension. The finale will find itself amidst the gaudy orange and teal, illogically inside an abandoned steel mill, because those always have their teal lights shining bright. Sequences inside carry outs or in a diner late carry that mild sense of pleasing saturation without anything in regards to offensive color timing.
High fidelity detail is hampered by the lighting, the dim interiors hardly conducive towards HD material. Still, this one punches through, a stern mid-range regularly crisp and close-ups impressive. Bello is on the receiving end of some definite texture, Dorff’s stubble meant for the Blu-ray spotlight.
Exteriors struggle, at least half of the time, as a clear camera switch comes into effect. Shots of the road are riddled with aliasing and shimmering, the upscaled material sloppily inserted as if it in any way mixes. A few glimpses of the steel mill in the daylight exhibit ridiculous halos, possibly a cheap means of trying to match the middling sharpness from the rest of the piece. It didn’t work.
When it springs to life, the soundtrack will prove to be a heavy hitter, pounding the low-end with a sufficient and satisfying beat. The same can’t be said for the rolling, flipping car crash minutes away from the final credits, the thuds of metal on concrete barely resonating with any force, the visuals depicting something far more aggressive than the audio is presenting.
Dialogue carries a typically firm presence in the center; Carjacked doesn’t take its exchanges anywhere else. Positionals are DOA in this TrueHD affair. Occasionally, fidelity will be lost, lines losing their clarity for something that sounds aged. Static intrudes, unmistakeable at 1:24:51, either a mistake during the recording phase or mixing. Either way, those three or four dips in quality are distracting.
A behind-the-scenes montage is the sole extra, all on-set footage backed by some hideous guitar riffs that make it hard to watch.
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