Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 25 October 2020

Film review: Overdrive’s anaemic script, wooden performances sink movie

Vin Diesel and co seem like the Royal Shakespeare Company taking on Tolstoy next to Overdrive’s anaemic script, wooden performances, corny jokes and impenetrable script.
Scott Eastwood and Freddie Thorp. Moviestore / REX / Shutterstock
Scott Eastwood and Freddie Thorp. Moviestore / REX / Shutterstock

Overdrive

Director: Antonio Negret

Starring: Scott Eastwood, Freddie Thorp, Ana De Armas, Gaia Weiss

One star

Roll up, roll up for another game of action-movie cliché bingo, the game in which little-known directors try to squeeze as many genre platitudes into a 90-minute slot as they can.

Antonio Negret really goes for a full house here. We have motorcycle chases down the stairs of public buildings, chases through bustling market scenes, renewed bonding of the leads over a heart-warming conversation about a deceased friend or family member, steely-eyed German villains, French detectives with accents lifted straight from the Inspector Clouseau school of foreign-ness, and a needlessly complex, Bond villain-style torture/killing device used against our terrified female lead.

The real stars here, though, are the cars, in part because the actors appear to have been fashioned from a discarded dining table, but also because you will rarely see such an impressive collection of classic motors in one film – though the fact they are used for little more than set decoration suggests the movie’s US$30million (Dh110m) budget did not leave the producers enough for insurance to put them through their paces. The chases and stunts are therefore left to more modern and prosaic BMWs, with heavy product placement.

Much has been made of the fact the movie’s producers were also behind 2Fast 2Furious, but to call this a poor man’s F&F would be to do that franchise a disservice – Vin Diesel and co seem like the Royal Shakespeare Company taking on Tolstoy next to Overdrive’s anaemic script, wooden performances, corny jokes and impenetrable script.

The plot, such as it is, centres on car-thief brothers Andrew and Garrett Foster (Scott Eastwood and Freddie Thorp) who have been conveniently separated since childhood, allowing the dual stereotypes of wisecracking cockney gangster and strong-but-silent American hard man to be realised in one family. They fall foul of Marseilles crime lord Jacomo Morier (Simon Abkarian), leading to a convoluted plot involving the theft of a vintage Bugatti from a rival gangster (Clemens Schick).

Cue the assembly of a poorly characterised rag-tag gang of car thieves, a few chase scenes (though not as many as you might expect), male bonding (Eastwood’s Brian O’Conner, I mean Andrew Foster even shares the moral quandary experienced by Paul Walker’s Fast & Furious character about giving up his life of crime now he is about to be married), and a thoroughly predictable will they/won’t they romance between the other Foster and Devin (Gaia Weiss), a petty thief whose main talent seems to be the ability to attract police attention in an empty room.

The film is not entirely without positives, though. The French countryside is pretty and car lovers will coo at the impressive collection of classics assembled for the final parade, though it is more vintage car club Sunday spin than high-octane – for all the benefits gained by seeing them on the big screen, you might as well save your money and gaze longingly through the window of a vintage showroom in Al Quoz.

I would love to be a fly on the wall when Eastwood gets home from seeing the movie with his dad, the legendary Clint. It is to be hoped Eastwood senior has a few stern words to share about protecting the family legacy in future by avoiding any more films quite this poor.

cnewbould@thenational.ae

Updated: June 21, 2017 04:00 AM

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