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The Hitcher II: I've Been Waiting (2003)

DVD Cover (Universal)
Movie Connections:
The Hitcher
> The Hitcher (1986)
> The Hitcher II: I've Been Waiting (2003)
> The Hitcher (2007)
Genres:
Psychological Thriller, Road Movie, Thriller
Director:
Louis Morneau Louis Morneau
Starring:
Jake Busey Jake Busey
Kari Wuhrer Kari Wuhrer
C. Thomas Howell C. Thomas Howell
Shaun Johnston Shaun Johnston
Marty Antonini Marty Antonini

4.3 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: June 01, 2006
In this unneeded sequel to the classic original, we find Jim Halsey (C. Thomas Howell) returning for a rehash of the storyline that he went through almost twenty years ago. This time around, he has a girlfriend by the name of Maggie (Kari Wuhrer) by his side, and it also turns out that the events that took place in the original have inspired him to become a police officer. Well, he was a police officer, until the opening scene of the movie plays out and we watch him murder a kidnapper / pedophile / criminal (it's never really explained). Yes, our boy Jim plays by the book when it comes to bad movie clichés, and according to the chapter on police officers, any male officer in a leading role must be of the loose cannon variety. Not wanting to hit up the unemployment office so soon, it's decided that he and his woman will take a small vacation... and what better place to spend some quality time with one another than on the deserted stretch of road where he was almost murdered twenty years ago? Now, if you remember what transpired in the first movie, then you'll know how this one turns out: the couple picks up a hitchhiker (Jake Busey), he turns out to be a psycho, and we get to watch him frame the two of them for murder up until he kills Howell and leaves us with Wuhrer as the sole heroine. Then, he proceeds to do the same thing to her for the remainder of the film. Yikes.

Indeed, this movie was more similar to the original than most remakes are to their respective sources. While that could work out nicely in some cases - after all, there's been over ten Friday The 13th films and I'm still not complaining about those - the problem here is that this is a poor man's Hollywood version of the story. What I mean is that the movie just reeks of the "direct to video" status it was relegated to a couple of years ago. Jake Busey, while turning in a surprisingly good performance, is nowhere near as effective as Rutger Hauer was in the original, and Kari Wuhrer is... well, C. Thomas Howell was sorely missed in this film, and he was only in the low-average range when it comes to acting ability.

Whereas the original was a damned fine movie and had a lot going for it, this one tends to go the typical Hollywood b-movie route of doing things. Whereas the original built up the tension through the acting abilities of the lead characters and the intense storyline, this one chooses to pull the "scares" by pulling the old soundtrack cue trick. Miss Maggie will be walking down a hallway, the score will be a nice, slow piece that slowly builds up into a sudden CRASHBOOMBANG clash of cymbals that would wake the neighbors if you accidentally turned your television up the midrange volume setting. That's the extent of the scares here, and frankly, it's disappointing.

Of course, no direct-to-video would be complete without a giant explosion at the end which is immediately preceded by the heroine delivering a quick one-liner to the camera. Terminator 2 was a damned fine film, but I'll never forgive it for setting that trend into motion. If a giant explosion isn't enough for you, how about watching the fireball from said explosion literally rip the villain to pieces in a geyser of blood and body parts? I can't say that I've ever seen that happen before, but I will say that that scene exemplifies what was wrong with this film: the director got together a cast that was shitty for even b-movie standards and threw every cliché in the book together for ninety minutes worth of film. I'm actually shocked that he didn't manage to squeeze in a "cat scare", but... oh, wait, that little trick was included here as well, with a dog doing the honors.

Watch the original and pretend that this one was never made. Jake Busey does a shockingly good job in the role, but as I mentioned, he's no Rutger Hauer and doesn't even compare when it comes to effectiveness. The rest of the movie is a simple rehash with, save for one or two scenes, nothing new or original going for it whatsoever. 3/10.
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