Route 666
directed by William Wesley
(Lions Gate, 2001)

I can't say that Route 666 disappointed me, but that's only because I didn't expect a whole lot going in. A cursed road, a long-dead chain gang killing people, Lou Diamond Phillips -- all wrapped up in a Lions Gate box? The best you can really hope for is some laughs. Thankfully, Steven Williams supplies many of those with his very entertaining performance in what is otherwise a real dud of a film. Maybe someone could have made a decent film out of this story, but director William Wesley obviously cannot. The whole plot is just hopelessly contrived. I hope Wesley didn't actually think he was making a horror film -- it's pretty hard to be scared when you're busy laughing at how ridiculous the zombie ghosts (or whatever they are) look and behave.

Personally, I'm not heading down any cursed road closed for decades, but U.S. Marshal Jack La Roca (Phillips) decides to take the Route 666 shortcut in his rush to get a reluctant witness back to L.A. so he can testify against some really bad guys the next morning. Heck, there are six witness protection agents in two cars accompanying him -- what could possibly go wrong? So what if a quartet of violent criminals died long ago on the desert road in a chain gang "accident"? Those odd visions La Roca keeps having? Pshaw -- nothing to worry about there. He has a job to do, dadgummit, and he's going to do it.

Then again, what's the big hurry when you can stop and explore a desert cemetery in the middle of nowhere? It is here -- with two agents fighting each other and two other agents sneaking off to do the very opposite of fighting -- that our ashy chain gang shows up, tools in hand and ready to shovel-whack or jackhammer any human being they can get their oddly non-ethereal hands on. These guys aren't going to run you down, but they are persistent -- and, as luck would have it, they aren't the only obstacle the characters face as they try to make it to the other end of the cursed road.

There are a couple of plot twists thrown in to the overall mix, one of which is obvious early on and really does the film no favors in the end, and Williams has a number of funny lines, so I guess I should give the writers a little credit -- but the whole story is heavy on cliches and short on suspense. In the final analysis, Route 666 is good for some laughs (especially if you watch it alongside some buddies), but that's about it.

review by
Daniel Jolley

17 July 2010

Agree? Disagree?
Send us your opinions!

what's new