why Cranky is in pain
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

Top Selling DVD     Books

50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
A Bug's Life
Chronicles of Narnia set
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE


Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

Alice in Wonderland
Beauty and the Beast
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Princess Mononoke
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy


Starring Danny Glover and Dennis Quaid, Jared Leto and R. Lee Ermey
Written and Directed by Jeb Stuart

IN SHORT: A Talky thriller.

Any of you out there who read these things regularly know that the one combo Cranky fears most is the first time director/writer. In general, I stay the hell away from 'em if at all possible. But when they're loaded with name talent, there's no choice.

In the case of "Switchback," there was also hope that this thriller set in the Rockies would pack some punch. Writer/ director Jeb Stuart has a long list of action/thriller
screenplays under his belt, most notably "Die Hard" and portions of "The Fugitive," "Outbreak," "Chain Reaction," and "Another 48 Hours." Though no one had the slightest idea what the title
means, Danny Glover's name above it is good enough reason to sit down.

Jeb Stuart can write great characters, there's no question about it. Right down to the smallest supporting role, there were interesting things to see and distinctive character quirks. Which
is all well and good in a drama, but this thing was supposed to be a thriller slash action type flick. What it is is a first screenplay that wasn't pumped up to "Die Hard" action levels.

The premise is clever: a serial killer has been making his way through the West, using a hunting knife in an unusual manner to make his kills. Be honest -- knives are a helluva lot creepier than guns. That's why the best serial killers use 'em. The killer
is pursued by FBI agent Frank Lacrosse (Dennis Quaid) who is pursuing a personal vendetta. As to the identity of the killer, well, it could be Bob Goodall (Danny Glover) or it could be hitchhiker Lane Dixon (Jared Leto) but I'm not going to tell you. Stuart's script is very clever in pointing the finger at both knife wielding travelers, but when the secret is revealed, it's a long ride to the payoff.

That's the trouble with "thrillers." It's hard to get the right balance between character stories and out and out ass-kicking scares or action. "Switchback" lays it on thick for the former,
so by the time the latter shows up the tension is lost. [The other hard thing about reviewing "thrillers" is writing these things up without giving the guts away. So I'm bowing out early.]

The character performances are all fine, specifically R. Lee Ermey's perf as a long time Texas sheriff. The mountain scenery is gorgeous and, all in all, there's enough here to keep your
interest for most of the running time. It's well written enough that, the second you think it's safe to step out to the bathroom, something important is going to be revealed. But Cranky saw lots of people step out anyway.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to "Switchback," he would have paid...


Big splits among the folk that Cranky talked too after the "Switchback" sneak. Most of the women liked it, but weren't all that enthusiastic. The guys wanted more blood. Lots more. All seemed to agree that (had they paid for the ticket, instead of getting a freebie at the sneak) they would've preferred seeing "Switchback" on tape.

buy movie posters

The Cranky Critic® is a Registered Trademark of, and his website is Copyright © 1995  -  2015   by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.