RAGE, tells the story of Dennis Twist, a suburban, 30-something who unintentionally provokes the wrath of a mysterious and homicidal motorcycle rider. The confrontation with ‘The Biker’ escalates into a daylong battle of cat and mouse; concluding in an extremely violent rampage.
This holiday season has been a bit of a downer for me. With the extra time I have had off work, I planned on watching non-stop film and television shows, instead I have been plagued with this horrible middle ear infection that has caused me to temporarily lose close to 70% of the hearing in my left ear. When I was a child, I permanently lost 30% of the hearing in my right ear. So this infection in my left ear has had me WAY OFF my game the last couple of weeks. Now that the pain has subsided, I found that if I wear headphones, I can hear fairly well so I have jumped into watching films again. The experience isn’t particularly pleasant, the great films are probably better and the bad films are much worse to deal with. So where does that leave the mediocre films? They are still tough to sit through and seem much longer than they really are. Today I sat down to watch Chris Witherspoon’s “Rage” and it took several hours for me to make it through (that first of the film just did nothing for me). Fortunately, the final act somewhat makes up for the lackluster first and second, though not sure just how much.
Dennis Twist (Rick Crawford) lives in the suburbs with his beautiful wife Crystal (Audrey Walker) living a seemingly normal life. On his day off, Dennis makes a trek into the city to take care of a few things. Most importantly of which is cutting ties with his mistress Dana (Anna Lodej). While out he manages to piss off a man on a motorcycle. What starts out as a minor bit of road rage, quickly escalates into something much more terrifying. The cat and mouse chase eventually culminates in a violent conclusion, eventually asking yourself, “Who is The Biker?”
Well, the cat and mouse chase portion of the film lasts nearly an hour of the films runtime. Sadly, it is the most uninteresting part of it. What should have been much more terrifying, just kind of plays out rather predictably with no real suspense. One minor character in the film that Dennis is listening in on is talking about how great of a film Spielberg’s “Duel” was. I never saw the film though I do know that the story is very similar so I get that director Witherspoon was paying homage to a film that he loved. I am just not a fan of that particular subgenre. A major part of me not liking this has to do with that. I just felt like I knew where everything was headed before it happened and that irks me.
Once there is a shift in the action around the fifty minute mark, that’s where the film kicks into gear. The final act is suspenseful, thrilling, and surprising. I just wish the rest of the film had worked on that level for me. I won’t divulge many details (trying to keep this review as spoiler free as possible) but when more people become involved in the action, things become revealed and the fight for life does become truly frightening. Some really solid acting in the film, I liked how it was shot, and there is some nice violent action near the finale.
I think what this one boils down to is personal preference. This type of film almost never works for me (maybe an exception or two). It isn’t a waste of time, I have a feeling many people may enjoy this one more than I did. I am only giving “Rage” ** out of 5 stars. The final thirty minutes of the film were exciting but the sixty minutes leading up to the conclusion made me incredibly tired. I will recommend this film only to those who like the cat and mouse chase type of film in the vein of “Duel” or “Joyride”. If you’re like me and they aren’t your thing, I think it best you just stay away.