*/**** Image B- Sound A Extras D
starring Jonathan Bennett, Randy Wayne, April Scott, Christopher McDonald
written by Shane Morris
directed by Robert Berlinger
by Ian Pugh Jay Chandrasekhar's The Dukes of Hazzard is not one of the worst movies ever made, but it's almost certainly one of the most depressing. As it essentially amounts to an episode of the eponymous television series given to brief flashes of self-awareness, it reveals itself as a Beckett-esque nightmare in which the characters have been granted a dim perception that they're trapped in a world of hate and marginalization (particularly in regards to Daisy's contemplation of her uselessness except as eye candy) with no means of escape. In the hands of television hack Robert Berlinger, The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning (hereafter Dukes 2) is a loose prequel to some hybrid of the movie/TV franchise that jettisons Chandrasekhar's brushes with the fourth wall in favour of an "ignorance is bliss" policy that ends up being only marginally less depressing. The film encompasses the story of how teenaged cousins Bo (Jonathan Bennett) and Luke Duke (Randy Wayne) left a promising future of generic juvenile delinquency, cobbled together The General Lee, popped their cherries, and found themselves in a never-ending cycle of car chases and frat-boy leering. Never mind that "The Dukes of Hazzard" rarely bothered to rationalize its own exploitation of those small-screen vices--the prequel applies more of the same and seems to promise countless adventures to come, but really it just represents an entry point into that oppressive, infinite loop. It's a moment of stark inevitability comparable to another, similarly-titled prequel (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning) and its sad march into the void of madness.