Film Review: Overdrive (2017)

2017 in Cinema:

Overdrive, 2017

Directed by: Antonio Negret

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

 

This film is bad.

Overdrive, the latest in an ever-growing long line of high-speed car-driving films, stars Scott Eastwood (the son of legendary Clint Eastwood) and Freddie Thorp as Andrew and Garret Foster, respectively, two brothers who can steal anything with an engine. After the initial opening car-theft they are captured by classic car enthusiast, and Marseille crime boss, Jacomo Morier (Simon Abkarian). There they bargain for their life by offering to steal a car from Max Klemp (Clemens Schick), another crime boss, who is trying to move in on Jacomo’s Marseille territory. From there until the end of the film it’s just one car chase after another, with all the usual tropes of a car-film (close ups of changing gears, tricks with speed, slowing for corners, nothing out of the ordinary).

The plot itself is barely anything, but that was to be expected, but its execution is poor, and they entrust the services of Plot Convenience to get them through. Andrew and Garret, who are brothers, are given a week to complete their mission, and they admit themselves that they do not make missions that quick, nor do they have a crew: luckily for them, Stephanie (Ana de Armas), Andrew’s girlfriend, has a friend and that friend has a bomb-expert friend (more on him soon), and a whole bunch of drivers who are willing to work. I mean, how else were they going to get a crew. Are any of those crew members named? Nope. Are any of those crew members used in the film in anything other than someone to drive the cars away? Nope. Thanks for coming, pointless crew members. And that bomb expert friend got a bit of a storyline in this film: his first introduction seems him fail with his bombs, as does his first attempt on mission, but after that he’s a master bomb-expert and his failures are swiftly forgotten about.

But that’s not the only example of bad directing/writing, as we are constantly reminded who characters are in relation to one-another: early on Andrew and Garret, two brothers who are played by Scott Eastwood (the son of Clint Eastwood) and Freddie Thorp, must remind us about four times that they are half-brothers, feeling the need to bring it up in multiple conversations, and this extends to others: Morier has his cousin work with the brothers Andrew and Garret to keep an eye on them and he reminds us often he’s Morier’s cousin. The film doesn’t have a major cast so why the constant need of reminders is beyond me.

And Michael Brandt and Derek Haas’ writing did nothing for its principle characters: Garret comes across as what every young teenager may want to be (cocky, confident, good-looking), but as a character he barely offers anything. Scott Eastwood easily has a better character and out-acts his on-screen brother (but that really isn’t saying much, which is a pity considering who Scott Eastwood’s dad is). And what is laughable is a major car-chase and action scene ends because a villain is killed by an oncoming vehicle that he never saw (did I say ‘a’ major car-chase and action scene, because I meant ‘some’ major car-chase and action scenes as it doesn’t just happen once: hello, again, Plot Convenience).

I’m not the biggest fan of action films in general, as I find it difficult to believe villains can’t shoot James Bond when he’s running away, yet James Bond can shoot twenty villains without breaking a sweat: yes, in that scenario, James Bond is a fully trained shooter, but you’d expect a millionaire crime boss to employ similarly accurate shooters. Nope. This film has some of the worst cases of the lead characters avoiding bullets I’ve ever seen (one scene even had a guy shooting multiple bullets forward from his gun which didn’t move, and the bullets hit to the left and to the right of Andrew or Garret, who are brothers, by the way). It becomes almost laughable when multiple men are chasing with bullets but cannot seem to hit two unarmed men (Andrew and Garret, those brothers, never once pick up a gun to fight back, instead choosing to drive away and hope that by some miracle a passive vehicle saves them).

If you’re a classic-car enthusiast and don’t care for a good film, this one is for you. It’s clearly got its demographic (young boys who like cars and guns), but outside of that market this film fails in almost every category; which is a shame for the son of Clint Eastwood, who is played by Andrew, the half-brother of Garret.

 

Plot: *

Acting: *

Writing: *

Presentation: * *

Overall Rating:  * ¼

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