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Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Hitcher (**)

THE HITCHER
January 18, 2007
I have a gun!
The Hitcher is a remake of a Rutger Hauer/C. Thomas Howell movie from the 80's. This version stars the great Sean Bean and Sophia Bush, who's real purty. The good news is Bush is lovingly photographed and probably can't look any hotter than she does in this without a full monty. The bad news is there's no full monty.

Bush plays a college student with bladder control issues who has to pee a lot. She has a douchebag boyfriend she's driving to New Mexico with for spring break. The douchebag likes to drive real fast in the rain and pays less attention to the road than he does to his hot girlfriend. I can understand staring at Sophia Bush but not so much when his main job is to keep them from dying in a car accident. Sure enough, the douchebag proves he's incapable of keeping them from a car accident, but before that part, they almost run over and then end up giving a ride to Sean Bean, the hitcher. 
Bean turns out to be quite a prolific mass murderer. He has the Jack Bauer-esque ability to shoot a helicopter down with a handgun and can break his wrists to escape handcuffs with barely a flinch. Bean was 006 in Goldeneye so maybe that's where he got his awesome killing skillz. His bodycount in this picture includes 14 cops and a family of four. Bean doesn't say much and there is no rationale whatsoever given to why he kills so many people. Poor Sean Bean is better than this material. In his few dialogue scenes, Bean visibily struggles with how one dimensional and monosyllabic his character is. However, Bean does sort of implies that everything he did was to make Bush find the balls to kill him and he is very clear about why he wants to kill Bush's boyfriend.
Sean Bean: Your boyfriend's a whiny bitch. 
No argument here. The douchebag's death is actually pretty satisfying. I'd grown quite tired of him and Bush making bonehead choice after dumbass decision as Bean toys with them and chases them across New Mexico's desert. At one point the douchebag and Bush hole up in a seedy roadside motel for the obligatory sexytime. The douchebag elicits the movie's biggest laugh (and one "He's gay!" shoutout) when he leaves the sexy shower with steamy hot, naked Sophia Bush to go call for help, promising he'll "be back in 15 minutes."
It was pretty obvious all along that Bush was gonna survive the movie. First, she's real purty. Second, the producers of The Hitcher made the remake of the thematically similar The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, where real purty Jessica Biel also survives a serial killer who wants her dead for no good reason. 
Unfortunately, Bush lacks Biel's physicality and when she gets trapped in a flaming prison transport and busts her way out, shotgun in hand to finally confront Bean, in the words of Jim Garrison in JFK, I found it simply not believable. Bean was wearing a bulletproof vest and Bush kept shooting him in the chest, eliciting the second biggest laugh from the audience. It's a huge turnoff that no one in this movie besides Bean is particularly smart, especially not Bush, who every time she got ahold of a handgun felt the need to announce "I have a gun!"

Normally, I'd be into a story about a hot girl asserting herself and learning to kick a killer's ass. I like shit like that. Not so much here though. By the end, Bean's murderous torment of Bush twisted her into the killer she fought the whole movie not to turn into. But to Bean's chagrin, she doesn't think pumping a shotgun and blowing killers away like Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 is cool. Bush's last words to Bean are, "I can't feel anything." I know exactly what she means.

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