Tuesday, November 2, 2010

DUEL (1971) - a.k.a.: Californians can't drive for shit



Dave Mann (Dennis Weaver) is just an average guy. He's a businessman, has a wife and kids, and drives a shiny red Plymouth Valiant. As he makes his way to work and back home through some mostly deserted California roads, he comes across a rusty, piece of crap on wheels big rig driving way below the speed limit and putting out a bunch of smoke. Dave fancies himself a hotshot and guns it, overtaking the truck and pissing off the driver. This being California, and California having the worst drivers in the whole of the United States, eventually leads to an hour long chase to the death between Dave and his new truck driver friend.

Average guy. Average car. Big freaking problem.
As Dave tries to out run the beastly truck, his driving gets more reckless and dangerous. The guy thinks he can pull off some Mario Andretti stunts when he is actually about as skilled behind the wheel of his Plymouth as your average Asian minivan driving soccer mom. His car is pretty craptacular as well - it looks like a muscle car but ends up being wimpy, while the crazy truck driver has a souped up truck that apparently is a Ferrari in disguise. That thing can haul some serious ass.

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down.
Despite having a very small cast and taking place almost exclusively on various stretches of highway, Duel is a decently crafted thriller - fast paced and well scripted. The flow of the movie keeps the action going from the first encounter between Dave and his 18-wheeled tormentor from hell until the satisfying climax. So much of the movie resting on Dennis Weaver's performance, it's good to see that the veteran actor is up to the task. He's convincing as the everyday joe caught up in a shitty situation and trying to make the best of it. It's great to see his attempts to come to reason with the truck driver and his reaction when he realizes the guy just won't give up until his face is flattened by his heavy duty radials.

Don't mind me. I'm just trying to kill you and your whole family.
Duel is a bit dated with its lame 1970s synth score, but the basic thrill of the plot and the relentless chase between Dave and that bastard driving the truck remains fresh. It's an exciting movie that works despite its limited scope and is worth a watch. It's definitely not a classic, but it is better than a lot of the straight to video crap that overflows from Redbox and video stores. Give it a watch.

TL;DR - a killer truck chases a guy up and down California and crashes into a lot of stuff - 7/10

22 comments:

  1. interesting. Sounds a little like Maximum Overdrive.

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  2. Awesome review. Sound like I should give it a try.

    On a completely different topic, I love your icon with the cat and the popcorn!! Lol!

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  3. Sounds interesting, I might hold off on this movie but it was a good review none the less. You just got a new follower!

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  4. @ Classically: I haven't seen Maximum Overdrive yet, I'll have to add it to the queue.

    @ CAE.II: hehe thanks, it was the best I could find in my "LOL" folder.

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  5. Sounds like a boring concept. those writers must be geniuses to make it work

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  6. i like your reviews and the movie picks thanks gonna follow this awesome shit...

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  7. I had to chuckle since it looks like an average office worker vs a truck driver.

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  8. Looks damn good for a movie almost 40 years old now.

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  9. Looks like an interesting movie for what seems like not much of a storyline..

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  10. this seems like an epic match-up between small car and truck

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  11. that seems like an interesting movie

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  12. that actually sounds really fun to watch haha.

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  13. Duel wasn't to bad, I saw it the other day.

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  14. I like what you did with your blog.

    Followin !

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  15. LOL! I love how the last line summed up the whoel movie

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