Did you know that there’s a Hitcher II? There is, and it’s called Hitcher II: I’ve Been Waiting. Somehow it seems to have gotten lost or overlooked in all the hullabaloo surrounding the recent remake of the original film- not that that's a bad thing, necesssarily. Hitcher II is pretty much the same as The Hitcher, except instead of Rutger Hauer as the psycho bad guy hitchhiker, this time around it's Jake Busey as the psycho bad guy hitchhiker. To me, this is the equivalent of going to a strip club once and seeing Angelina Jolie do a routine and then you return the following week and you see the same routine but it's performed by the mom from Growing Pains. She’s lovely and all, but the effect isn’t quite the same, now is it?
I just realized I talk about strip clubs a lot. I find them sort of fascinating, though in my heart I know they’re not. They're actually sort of sad and boring, yet I still find them endlessly intriguing. Oh well. Maybe I should start a blog about them.
C Thomas Howell returns as Jim Halsey, the kid who was so very traumatized by Rutger Hauer in the first film. Jim is now a cop, but he can’t seem to get over his confrontation with the evil hitchhiker; he’s plagued by flashbacks of the desert and the mullet he sported at the time.
After Jim gets trigger-happy on the job one too many times, he’s summarily fired. His girlfriend, crack cropduster pilot Maggie (Kari Wuhrer), reminds Jim that he just can’t go around killing people all the time and things have got to change. They decide to take a trip back to Texas so Jim can confront his demons once and for all.
Before long, they’re driving in the middle of a sand storm and Jim is sweating a lot and generally acting weird. He refuses to pick up a hitchhiking Jake Busey, but Maggie insists- the poor guy is out in the middle of a sand storm, after all, and man, why the fuck is Jim acting so oddly?
Yeah, see, Jim hasn’t told his girlfriend about those life-altering events long ago or exactly what demons he has to exorcise…if he had, she wouldn’t have insisted on picking up Jake Busey and then we ALL could have avoided a little heartache. They pick him up, however, and yes, he’s psycho. As in the first film, Jim soon finds himself framed for 543657651665217 murders as Jake Busey keeps fucking with him. In a super-shocking twist, however, Jim ends up dead. This means that Jake Busey now has to torment Kari Wuhrer and somehow frame HER for 543657651665217 murders.
Busey kidnaps Maggie and tucks her away in a decrepit water tower…she escapes, however, and drives off in an 18-wheeler. She heads to a rest stop/diner and contacts the sheriff, ready to explain everything. Much to her chagrin, however, Jake Busey is already at the rest stop/diner and he’s killed everyone inside. Now he’s behind the counter, posing as a short order cook, complete with hat and apron- and the sheriff is on the way! Whatever will happen?
I’ll tell you what will happen: Jake Busey will cut off one of his own fingers and throw it in the deep fryer. Then he will say- I fucking kid you not- “BAM! Kickin’ it up a notch!” Then Stacie will turn the DVD off for 20 minutes as she waits for her blood pressure to return to normal.
More and more ridiculous scenarios unfold until there’s a final showdown, with Jake Busey behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler and Kari Wuhrer behind the…whatever you use to fly a plane. That’s got to be the most retarded showdown in the history of ever and I can’t believe it actually happened, but I saw it with my very own eyes.
I tells ya, the only thing that kept me going to the end of this movie was my fervent desire to see an end to Jake Busey and his Chiclet teeth and relentlessly ‘90s hairstyle once and for all.
While I think there’s something valid to the notion of sequels that deal with the aftermath of events from earlier films and their effect on characters (this idea was handled well in Halloween H2O, for example), Hitcher II ultimately felt more unnecessary than even a remake of the original film. Jim never got to sort his shit out or have any kind of real resolution: he found himself in the exact same situation he was in almost twenty years earlier, and he died a lame death. Maggie ends up traveling down the same path, which seems ludicrous to me. How many cuckoo nutso nihilistic hitchhikers are there in Texas, anyway?
You’d be right to think that the “BAM!” line would take top honors for Most Appalling of Hitcher II: I’ve Been Waiting, but that’s only because I haven’t yet presented this evidence:
Umm…is that nose hair? I think it’s nose hair. Once I noticed it, I couldn’t take my eyes off of it, and I was therefore glad when Jim met an early demise. C Thomas Howell will always have a place in my heart- I mean, he’s PONYBOY. But come on…when it becomes a distraction, it's time to fucking trim that shit, dude.
Hitcher II was just plain silly, and despite a decent performance from Kari Wuhrer, I can only appoint it a rating of: