Director Jonathan (Terminator 3) Mostow does a pretty fair Hitchcock impression with Breakdown, its plot improbabilities forgivable in light of the tension he creates. And he's lucky to have Kurt Russell as the hapless-hubby good guy--and maybe even more so to have the immortal J.T. Walsh as his villain. Imagine The Vanishing without any psychology, just suspense, in a desert landscape where everybody is either fly-specked-clueless or in on the shenanigans.
Russell trusts Walsh with his wife (Kathlenn Quinlan, another welcome face)--and thanks for small errors: Russell's search for the missing Quinlan, and the weirdo motives for her disappearance, make for a final act that strains credulity--but again, those B-actors (and I mean that as a compliment) know what to do with extreme material: let it be and ride--which Kurt, who's always looked like a surfer, is particularly good at (he's the only reason to watch Grindhouse), and he and his co-stars stick with the plot and deliver a popcorn-good time.