Runaway Car (1997) starring Judge Reinhold, Nina Siemaszko, Brian Hooks, Paul Eiding, Glenn Morshower, Brian Reddy, Leon directed by Jack Sholder Movie Review

Runaway Car (1997)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Judge Reinhold in Runaway Car (1997)

Unstoppable Car

It's one of many drivers' nightmares to be driving along and when they hit the break pedal nothing happens. It has happened to me and it is one of the most terrifying experiences going as suddenly you are in the hands of the Gods that nothing is going to come across in front of you. That is basically the set up to "Runaway Car" as we have an out of control car which has sped up all on its own, has no brakes, won't slide into neutral and the ignition won't turn off, talk about bad luck. Unfortunately whilst "Runaway Car" has atmosphere thanks to it delivering a situation that terrifies most drivers it is a low budget affair with a poor script, poor acting and a strange comedic tone which is wrong. And unfortunately all of this makes "Runaway Car" one of those movies which borders on entertainingly bad.

After a tough day at work nurse Jenny Todd (Nina Siemaszko - Baby Brokers) heads to the garage to pick her car up from being serviced. Whilst there she comes to the rescue of businessman Ed Lautner (Judge Reinhold - The Santa Clause) whose car isn't ready by offering him a lift. On the way to where he needs to go they pick up Jenny's baby nephew and after almost running down Dex (Brian Hooks) a skateboarder also offer him a lift. But when they get on to the interstate the car starts to gain speed all on its own and nothing they do will stop it leading to a police chase and dramatic rescue attempt.

Nina Siemaszko in Runaway Car (1997)

After a prolonged, bitty and frankly weak opening where we meet Jenny having a bad day in the operating room and become aware that her car has been worked on by a reckless mechanic we then get the even crazier set up of how she comes to have two strangers and a baby in her car. It is staggeringly bad thanks to its bitty nature and has an awkward sense of comedy going on with Judge Reinhold playing the annoying Ed in a typical Reinhold way. In fact it is such an awkward opening that any expectations of it being reasonable quickly dissipate.

But then it gets to the actual drama which I should say is inspired by real events as we have this out of control car hurtling down the interstate. Now all the things that are bad about "Runaway Car" are still present which makes it cheesy but because we have the nightmare scenario of the out of control car it becomes exciting. The various steps taken to try and stop the car from bins full of water placed as a road block to Dex bravely trying to climb onto the engine to disconnect wires gets the adrenalin going. And on that note I have to say the stunt men involved do a fantastic job of making the movie exciting as is the scene where they try to get the baby safety.

As for the actual acting and aside from Judge Reinhold who as I said delivers typical Reinhold performance it is generally weak but that is more to do with the script than the actual actors involved.

What this all boils down to is that "Runaway Car" is in truth a poor movie but the basic concept of a runaway car is exciting and taps into a fear of many drivers.