Searchers 2.0 (2007)
Searchers 2.0 (2007)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
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Critic Reviews for Searchers 2.0
... a shaggy little thing, sloppy at times and pitted with awkward political statements, but at its best filled with Cox's askew humor and unexpected digressions...
Audience Reviews for Searchers 2.0
Writer-director Alex Cox may be a permanent Hollywood outcast, but he continues to find ways to sneak out his modest, renegade projects. The undistributed "Searchers 2.0" was shot in 10 days on digital video and, while it's clearly mediocre, it's an enjoyable diversion -- especially for a no-budget movie that mostly rests upon three chatty people riding in a car. Mel (Del Zamora, who also appeared in Cox's "Repo Man," "Walker" and "Straight to Hell") meets Fred (Ed Pansullo) by chance, and discovers they are both aging, bit-part actors with a love for cult Westerns. Furthermore, they even appeared in the same Western as children and share bitter, traumatic memories of its vicious screenwriter, Fritz Frobisher (Sy Richardson, another of Cox's durable acting troupe). By far-fetched coincidence, they almost immediately hear of a special, out-of-state screening of a Frobisher film where the famed writer will make a personal appearance. Having nothing better to do, they take off for Monument Valley, Arizona with vague plans to give him a vengeful pounding. They lack a reliable car, so they recruit the services of Mel's estranged daughter Delilah (Jaclyn Jonet, far more appealing than she was in the subsequent "Repo Chick"). The plot doesn't go much further than this, but we do share the trio's long drive in Delilah's gas-challenged SUV. Along the way, they casually banter and argue. Mainly about classic Westerns. Cox is a major aficionado of the genre, and most of the script feels like an indulgent excuse to share this passion. But yes, some good lines pop up here and there -- check the interesting debate about whether a revenge film's protagonist should succeed or not -- and twitchy, malcontent Fred has various gripes that somewhat recall Tracey Walter's iconic "Repo Man" psychobabble. And the ruddy desert vistas are exquisite. Of course, the three eventually meet Frobisher (now lamely hawking souvenir merchandise), but the climax adds a dumb twist that leaves a bad aftertaste and makes the film seem much sillier than it should have been. A pity. Watch for cameos by Roger Corman (also the executive producer), nerd critic Leonard Maltin and Cox himself.
Obviously too obscure for popular success, "Searchers 2.0" is also perhaps too gentle and not quite offbeat enough to become a cult favourite, which is a shame because it has a lot to offer and is well worth seeing. It's one of those road movies that clocks up a helluva lot of miles without ever really going anywhere, but the warmth of the performances, plus Alex Cox's obvious affection for his characters and the actors playing them, make it unusually charming. Having heard that their nemesis will be attending a special screening in Monument Valley, Mel and Fred, a pair of lowly film extras, journey from California to Utah to kick the ass of the sadistic screenwriter (Sy Richardson) who terrorised them on the set of a crappy B-western, years before. Lacking their own transportation, Mel's daughter (Jaclyn Jonet) and her SUV, which is incapable of travelling between filling stations without running out of gas, are taken along for the ride. That's about it as far as the plot goes; the rest of the movie is just a series of entertaining conversations, mostly about other movies, occasionally digressing to such topics as the War on Terror ("It's our gas; it just happens to be under their desert") and the subtle difference between revenge and justice (Fred: "Justice is revenge, only with a financial element." Mel: "So, if you and I, Fred, were to kick someone's ass, entirely for revenge purposes, and his billfold fell out of his pocket, you, I and my daughter would be justified in splitting the money?"). Although an outrageous ending alters our perception of Ed Pansullo's character, Fred, for the most part he and Del Zamora play as likeable a pair of losers as you could wish for. By the end of the picture I'd just about fallen in love with Jaclyn Jonet. Quiet and unassuming as it is, I think I actually prefer this to "Repo Man"! Any movie that climaxes with a film quiz staged as a Sergio Leone gunfight has gotta be great, surely!
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