For the first half hour or so, Breakdown is a taut, suspenseful thriller, but at the midway point, all the questions are answered and the thrill gives way to mindless action. Jeff (Russell) and Amy (Quinlan) Taylor are driving cross-country to their new home in San Diego. Car trouble leads to an encounter with a truck driver, Red Barr (Walsh), who offers to give Amy a lift to a nearby diner. Jeff solves the engine problem himself and heads for the diner. His wife isn't there, and the surly locals offer no help. Jeff tracks down Barr, who pleads ignorance. Russell delivers a great performance as an ordinary man who finds extraordinary, but believable, courage when he needs it. And Walsh is evil incarnate, going from sly and cunning trickster to raving madman.
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