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RELEASED: 2010, Cert.15
RUNNING TIME: Approx. 91 mins
DIRECTOR: Dean Francis
PRODUCER: Michael Robertson
SCREENPLAY: Clive Hopkins
MUSIC: Rafael May
Bob Morley as Craig
Sophie Lowe as Nina
Georgina Haig as Liz
Xavier Samuel as Marcus
FILM ONLY REVIEW
Four teens, Craig, Nina, Liz and Marcus drive off into the Australian outback with the intent of having a camping holiday together.
Although there is some tension between the two girls in the group, their real troubles begin when they are forced off a lonely road in the middle of nowhere by a huge articulated truck, affectionately known in Australia as a road train. Their car overturns, leaving Craig with a serious arm injury, although the other three are unhurt.
Whilst Nina stays with Craig to keep an eye on him, Marcus and Liz spot the road train stalled in the distance. They go to investigate in hopes of finding the driver, firstly to see if he can offer to help them and secondly to try and find out why he forced them off the road.....then, strange things start to happen.
To find out more and if you really are desperate enough to want to, watch the film yourself to find out what happens.
I had great hopes for Road Train, as the blurb on my DVD sleeve promised something tense and gripping, which takes place deep in the remotest part of the Australian outback.
There have been so very many films made in the past decade or so which set their storylines around groups of teenagers getting into difficulties when what they do doesn't quite turn out to plan, and Road Train is no exception.
Road Train is probably one of the very few films - maybe the only one - whereby its opening scene is raw sex! After the bonking session is over and day breaks, the amorous couple rejoins the other pair and they hit the road in their four-by-four. In pretty much true to form along with all these other 'teens meet trouble' movies, little squabbles arise. This is pretty boring, as it's all so contrived and nothing new.
In the early part of the film when the foursome is being pursued by this huge road train truck, I had a horrible feeling it was going to be an extremely poor copycat offering, far too close to Stephen Spielberg's excellent 1971 debut movie...Duel. However, that similarity only lasts for a few moments before Road Train's storyline veers off in a different direction.
Thus far not overly impressed, as there is a distinct lack of atmosphere and tension, I continued to watch in the hopes that something might jump out of the screen and grip me by the throat, but it didn't.
As Road Train progressed, my boredom levels accelerated to the point where I almost gave up, but some kind of inner fortitude gave me the impetus to continue to the closing credits.
There is something huge definitely missing from this film. It is true that the Australian outback setting is ideal for a psycho-thriller type movie, but in order to render it workable, the film's dialogue, the actors and the atmosphere created by the direction/production team must work hard to deliver something beyond the visual aspects - it didn't happen with Road Train!
The acting for the most part is very mediocre, although towards the end, Bob Marley and Sophie Lowe as Craig and Nina respectively, did come out of their shells somewhat, thus managing to deliver a reasonably well-acted finale, but nothing outstandingly special. I think the crux of what made the overall acting seem tiresomely mediocre was probably the film's poor dialogue rather than naturally inept performances by the cast.
The music to Road Train is actually not too bad in itself, being quite dramatic in parts and conducive to high tension on the screen, but sadly the film's storyline and the way it is acted/presented didn't fit the bill, which in turn made the score seem far too out in front and at points unnecessary. I found the music was so penetrating that it drew my attention away from what was happening on the screen, simply because the film in itself isn't strong enough to be supported by a soundtrack of this nature.
I did get the impression that in other movies, the acting skills of the four young cast members might turn out to be more admirable, which adds fuel to my feeling that in this instance it is the screenplay and poor direction/production which makes the actors seem worse than they perhaps really are.
Although Road Train is only 91 or so minutes long, there are large chunks within the film where although I completely understood what was going on, it simply wasn't gripping or interesting enough to make me want to give it my whole attention and I thus found these stretches totally tedious. I almost wanted to grab the screenplay/production/direction staff by the throat (if I were able to) and say something like..... "Hey, can I have a go at this please as I feel sure I'd be able to make a better go of it and create something far more gripping and watchable!"
It is a pity that at the end of the day, Road Train is a forget-me-forever type of film which initially holds quite a lot of promise, but falls apart like a damp squib just after the first hurdle and is quite likely a sad waste of 91 minutes of anyone's life.
All I can say in summary is.....this is a pretty awful film that I'd definitely recommend you miss.
At the time of writing, Road Train can be purchased on Amazon as follows:-
New: from £1.87 to £99.99 !!!
Used: from 42p to £9.81
A delivery charge of £1.26 should be added to the above figures.
Thanks for reading!
~~ Also published on Ciao under my CelticSoulSister user name ~~