[[quoteright:222:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Breakdown_2_7064.jpg]]

Breakdown is a 1997 thriller, written and directed by Creator/JonathanMostow. The main stars were Creator/KurtRussell and Creator/KathleenQuinlan.

Jeff Taylor and his wife Amy are driving cross-country from Boston to San Diego. The first sign of trouble is a barely-avoided collision with a truck. Followed by meeting its driver Earl at the gas station. Not long after leaving the station, their vehicle breaks down. A trucker named Warren "Red" Barr stops by and offers to take Amy to a nearby diner, from where she can hopefully call for help. Jeff soon finds out that their vehicle had a very specific problem, disconnected wires. At the diner, however, Amy is nowhere to be seen. The rest of the movie follows Jeff as he struggles to find his wife.

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!!This film provides examples of:

* ActionSurvivor: Jeff.
* TheAllegedCar: One ChaseScene has Jeff and Amy trying to escape the gang members in an old, rusty utility pickup truck. It doesn't take the bad guys long to run them down.
* BitchInSheepsClothing: Red when he first appears as the "friendly trucker".
* BoundAndGagged: Amy, when she is unloaded at "The Barn."
* CarMeetsHouse: While pursuing Jeff and Amy at one point, Red crashes his 18-wheeler straight through the middle of a trailer home.
* ChainPain: Used as an ImprovisedWeapon towards the end of the film by Red.
* CoolCar: Jeff's brand new car. It also [[spoiler:makes him look like a wealthy target to the kidnappers.]]
* ConvenientlyPlacedSharpThing: Enforced. Jeff [[spoiler:steals a letter opener from the bank, probably to use as a weapon, but it comes in handy when he is tied up]].
* DamselInDistress: Amy for most of the film.
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Red has a wife and son at home, neither of whom know anything about his [[LivingADoubleLife leisure-time activities]].
* EveryCarIsAPinto: When Jeff manages to score a hit on Billy's car, it flips over, and promptly explodes.
* EvilGLoating: Earl, after he has [[spoiler:taken Jeff's money, and has him tied up in his car. His gloating lets Jeff know why they were targeted, and that the kidnappers intend to kill them anyway.]]
* GuileHero: Amy, who [[spoiler: avoids getting killed by telling the kidnappers Jeff has a lot of money.]] Jeff also [[spoiler:manages to keep up the charade long enough to locate Amy.]]
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Red is crushed by his own truck. Arranged by Amy, the moment her hands were free.
** Earlier, Red tried to use a length of [[ChainPain chain]] as a weapon to gain an edge on Jeff. This ultimately backfires on him, when Jeff grabs the chain and pulls him down.
* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique: To get Earl to tell him where Amy is, Jeff ties Earl's neck to the headrest of the passenger seat of a car with duct tape, then repeatedly accelerates the car and slams on the brakes.
* NervesOfSteel: Red Barr. He never cracks. Ever. Not when Jeff holds his family at gunpoint, not when he is completely at Jeff's mercy.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Billy feigns mental impairment the first time Jeff meets him.
* OhCrap:
** In Red's [[spoiler:kitchen, Jeff thinks he's got Red, Billy, and Al right where he wants them...then Red's son comes in pointing a shotgun at him.]]
** Earl, [[spoiler:when he realizes the stacks of money are simply 1-dollar bills sandwiches by two 100-dollar bills]]
* OutsideRide: Jeff finds his way to Red's farm by hitching a ride on the outside of Red's 18-wheeler.
* PlotDrivenBreakdown: Averted. Jeff and Amy's car breaking down sets the plot in motion, but we find out later that it was actually sabotaged.
* ProtectedByAChild: When Jeff holds Red at gunpoint, Red's young son, Deke, grabs a loaded rifle and tries to protect his parents.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Earl gives one to Jeff, telling him all the ways he made himself stand out as an easy mark for the gang.
-->"You've gotta be the dumbest motherfucker yet. Think we just picked you out of the clear blue? Shiny new car, Massachusetts plates...probably be a week before anybody misses you. Shoulda got that bumper sticker that goes with that car: 'Rich Assholes Looking for Trouble.' Sure wish I'd been there to see the look on your face when your car seized up on you. Maybe next time you'll learn...don't leave your hood open when you go in the store."
** It's actually an interesting subversion, in that Earl is completely wrong about Jeff and Amy being "rich assholes looking for trouble." They're actually middle-class people who are ''not'' looking for trouble; Earl is just a serious hypocrite. And his surprise when he learn how wrong he is causes him to drop his guard for a second... and Jeff is able to overpower him.
* TheSavageSouth: Jeff and Amy are from Massachusetts, and the movie takes place in Arizona. Part of the reason given by the gang for why they were chosen as targets is because they were outsiders, and therefore easier targets.
* ShutUpHannibal: Near the end of the movie, Red starts to threaten Jeff and his wife (the latter having just been rescued from the [[StuffedInTheFridge chest freezer]] in which the villains left her to suffocate) only to be silenced nine words in when a severely stressed-out Jeff screams "You '''FUCK!!!'''" and kicks him in the face.
* TheyLookJustLikeEveryoneElse: By the time Jeff finds out that the "friendly" trucker and the "helpful" youth with the supposed mental disability are both in league with the bad-tempered stranger and all three have it in for him and Amy, he's gotten so {{paranoi|aFuel}}d that he can't bring himself to trust anybody who lives in or around the town, not knowing who else might be in on the scheme.
** It gets even worse when Jeff follows the BigBad home and discovers that he's an ordinary family man with a wife and kid -- neither of which has any idea of [[SerialKiller what he does in his spare time]].
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: What happened to the cop Earl shot? We never see him again afterwards, though the ambulance that Jeff called may have saved him.
** There's also some FridgeHorror concerning whatever happened to Red's wife and his son after they were freed. Not only is their family patriarch dead, but they also just discovered that he was a SerialKiller; that's gotta be hard to take.

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