Throttle (2005) / Thriller-Action
aka No Way Up
MPAA Rated: R for language and violence
Running Time: 86 min.
Cast: Grayson McCouch, Amy Locane, Adrian Paul, Dan Mundell, Michelle Beisner, Jefferson Arca, Mare Trevathan Phillpott, Gary Sirchia, Christopher Grundy
Director: James Seale
Screenplay: Zachary Aron, Graham Winter
Perhaps it's just a coincidence or perhaps it's an homage that the central character in Throttle is named Weaver, which is also the last name of the lead actor in Duel. Regardless, I've sat through far too many Duel rip-offs lately to give any new contenders an even break, so take this for what it's worth. After sitting through Joy Ride, Road Rage, High Tension, and lord knows what else recently, my patience with another highly derivative cheapie thriller like Throttle (aka No Way Up on the cable channels) is extremely thin. if you've never seen the above movies, then perhaps you might enjoy this more, but my recommendation is to rent Duel and skip all the imitators.
With the exception of a few flashback scenes, Throttle takes place entirely within the confines of a five story parking garage. Tom Weaver (McCouch, Armageddon) happens to be there late one evening after his shady business partner (Adrian Paul, Premonition) asks him to come there to cement a risky deal they have going down. Shortly after the deal is done, Tom returns to his car to find that it won't start, and that someone has obviously been tampering with the engine. Suspicious, Tom knows enough to get out of the situation, but without cell phone reception or a vehicle, he'll have to hoof it all the way down. Oops, he also doesn't have his pass card to let himself out, which means he'll have to figure out some other way. He better think fast, because someone in a truck has decided to play a deadly game of cat and mouse with him in the parking garage.
It's a silly premise for an even sillier movie. Throttle might have stood a chance for an interesting diversion if it hadn't already been beaten to the punch so many times in better and more interesting ways. Of course, the cell phone won't work and every single thing the protagonist tries ends up blowing up in his face, largely because his predator is so omniscient, and apparently, psychic. Interestingly enough, people seem to have no problems getting into the parking garage, even though Tom can't find a single way out. The parking garage is seemingly endless, and the ways out are probably easy, but this is the kind of thriller we have here. Suspension of disbelief is a must, and given how ridiculous this premise is, it doesn't come without a lot of overhead (no pun intended).
Throttle is throwaway junk cinema at its basest, probably only of appeal for people watching cable late at night too stoned or drunk to think, or too lazy to reach for the remote.
©2005 Vince Leo