I see John Cusack and Morgan Freeman's face on the cover of a DVD box, I buy it. Not that these guys have never made a bad movie, but they've certainly never made a movie worse. The same is true here, although the movie was already pretty bad to begin with.
Gym teacher Ray Keene (Cusack at his most vacant) has a pubescent son who is grappling with several dull plot contrivances (the Dead Mom and Infrequent Pot Smoking). In an attempt to bond with him before he goes too far down the wrong path, Ray takes his boy hiking. Turns out they BOTH end up down the wrong path, in the middle of which is escaped-assassin, Frank (Freeman, who gives new meaning to the phrase "phoning it in"). Frank is pursued by his team of assisstants (assassisstants?), who want badly to be paid, but not far behind are also a group of snobbish U.S. Marshalls who have their own agendas. It's Ray's job to avoid these two deadly (?) forces and bring Frank to justice.
No, wait. Ray's job is a gym coach, making the next several hours of his life a pretty amazing feat, as he scales bluffs, outwits and outmanuevers a whole cadre of military-trained mercenaries and political heavies that appear to have no skills beyond complaining about coffee and smirking smugly at the incompetent local lawmen. And, to be fair, the local lawmen are remarkably incompetent.
Who wrote this thing? Furthermore, how did they get Driving Miss Daisy's Bruce Beresford to direct? That must be, at least, how they got Freeman to lend his Oscar-winning weight to the title. And that would explain Cusack (because who WOULDN'T want to star next to the incomparable Freeman?). But none of it explains the script's tired dialogue ("You said mom would be okay!" Ray's son, Chris, keens. "But she wasn't okay! She wasn't okay!"). None of it explains the crumpled story-line or the ludicrously two-dimensional characters (Alice Krige's skullish Gwen Miles is so flat she seems concaved). And the plot holes! Let's just say that they eventually become an acquired taste. By the time you get to the scene I call the "Helicopter Crash Conversation," you'll be shaking your head AND laughing.
The really funny thing, though, is that it's obvious SOMEONE put a lot of work into the film. Certain scenes (the hit-and-run at the start, the accident that leads to Frank's initial capture) are smartly done. And in the hands of an abler scribe (it was penned by the late Stephen Katz, who did mostly teleplays for The A-Team and Hardcastle and McCormick) it might have pulled together into something you could take a passing interest in. Instead, there's this silly, incomprehensible glob of a film, notable only for being the first time I've ever seen Morgan Freeman look tired without also thinking he was doing a great job of acting like it.