UK Release Date: 11th August 2017
Runtime: 93 minutes
Director: Antonio Negret
Writer: Michael Brandt, Derek Haas
Starring: Scott Eastwood, Freddie Thorp, Ana de Armas, Gaia Weiss, Clemens Schick, Simon Abkarian
Synopsis: Two brothers with a flair for stealing cars find themselves working for some seriously bad people as they attempt to steal priceless vehicles.
Every year, multiplex cinemas seem to play host to a selection of action movies that are far more suited to the DVD bargain bin at supermarkets, next to Steven Seagal’s oeuvre from the last ten years. The latest example of this sad phenomenon is Overdrive, in which Scott “Son of Clint” Eastwood plays the more mature and charismatic half of a duo of a brothers who spend their time stealing fancy cars and driving them very quickly around the sunnier parts of Europe. On paper, it has the potential to be a fun, silly action movie, but the result is about as entertaining as a leisurely Uber ride and has the feel of a Fast and Furious film directed by the bloke who makes those Jeremy Clarkson DVDs your dad always gets in his stocking at Christmas.
Andrew (Eastwood) and Garrett (Freddie Thorp) are a duo of car thieves planning a massive heist in the picturesque French countryside. They join forces with notorious crime lord Morier (Simon Abkarian), who wants to steal a coveted and priceless 1960s Ferrari belonging to his rival Max Klemp (Clemens Schick). Along the way, as double crosses and car chases pile up with alarming speed, the brothers are helped by Andrew’s girlfriend Stephanie (Ana de Armas) and her petty thief friend Devin (Gaia Weiss).
Overdrive is, first and foremost, a really lazy action movie. It’s simply an odyssey of macho wish fulfillment from start to finish. It’s all blokey chat about cars, women and crime that never has even a hint of sophistication. This is a world in which romance consists of a woman telling a man about the spec of his favourite car before taking him home, stripping to her underwear and roughly dry-humping him against a pinball table. This is an action movie for the Top Gear crowd, without the self-awareness you’d get if Jason Statham were in the lead role.
Many of the film’s problems are rooted quite simply in its complete lack of characterisation. The central relationship between the two brothers should be the emotional heart of the movie, but their blokey banter is omnipresent and uninspiring, and there is nothing for the female characters to do. It says a lot for this film that Ana de Armas got more characterisation when she was one of the two unhinged women at the heart of the strange horror movie Knock Knock. She just gets nothing to do here. It’s all about the blokes and the exhaust fumes they seem to inhale whenever possible.
The plot is as dumb as a lobotomised seahorse and only half as interesting, lurching at random from one pretty, sun-baked location to another. Overdrive seems to think it’s weaving a complex tapestry of double-crosses and criminal plots, but it’s instead just indulging in hero worship of its protagonists. In order for tension to build, we need to fear that their scheme might not pan out, but we never get any sense that they are anything other than perfect geniuses who have thought of every possible eventuality.
Most crucially, though, the film is exceedingly boring. The car chase action is uninspired and drab, playing out beats that look incredibly tame next to the wild excesses of Fast and Furious, the wit and invention of Baby Driver or the crunching violence of something like Atomic Blonde. This is a film packed with generic bad guys, even more generic heroes and a lame attempt to turn the son of an iconic actor into a bona fide action hero in his own right. This Eastwood is The Man With No Name too, but only because you can’t remember it.
Pop or Poop?
I have no idea how Overdrive made its way into mainstream cinemas because there are movies that can’t get a distribution deal with far more wit, invention and intrigue. This is an action film for the lowest common denominator of masculinity – and it doesn’t deserve a moment of your time.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.