Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 16, 2017)
Will Scott Eastwood’s fame ever equal that of his father Clint? God no – Clint is probably a top 10 all-time Hollywood legend.
But the younger Eastwood‘s career seems to be on the rise. He recently played supporting roles in blockbusters such as Suicide Squad and Fate of the Furious, and he gets the lead in 2018’s big-budget Pacific Rim sequel.
In the meantime, we find Eastwood as the main character in 2017’s direct-to-video effort Overdrive. Car thieves Andrew (Eastwood) and Garrett Foster (Freddie Thorp) go to the south of France to steal a ridiculously valuable Bugatti.
While this caper succeeds, it comes with a catch. They purloin the vehicle from crime boss Jacomo Morier (Simon Abkarian), and he doesn’t feel too happy about their actions.
Stuck in hot water, Morier gives the brothers a chance to escape a bad fate. If they steal a car owned by Morier’s rival Max Klemp (Clemens Schick), he’ll set them free. Inevitably, complications ensue.
Earlier I reflected on Scott Eastwood’s career potential, and I must admit I wonder if his face will hold him back, as he looks an awful lot like his old man. Honestly, Scott bears such a strong resemblance to Clint that it occasionally feels like he’s a CG recreation of his dad.
If Scott branched into roles outside of Clint’s typical purview, the resemblance might matter less. Since Scott seems determined to follow in Clint’s “anti-hero” footsteps, it becomes more of a potential issue.
Given the example of Overdrive, though, Scott’s biggest obstacle might connect to his choices. A one-dimensional, by-the-numbers caper flick, Overdrive fails to bring us much excitement.
It’d be easy to view Overdrive as a ripoff of the Fast and Furious franchise – because it is. Granted, the film’s influences don’t end there, as one can find the reflection of many other “caper flicks”, but I seriously doubt that Overdrive would exist without the massive success of the Fast and Furious franchise.
It’s a bad sign when a movie announces the start of production in 2011 but doesn’t actually roll film until 2016. Apparently that occurred here, as it took years for Overdrive to finally take flight.
It also seems ominous when the Blu-ray’s box offers misleading credits. It claims to come from “the director of Taken”, which is true – to a degree. Taken’s Pierre Morel acted as a producer here, whereas the promotional copy implies he directed the film.
Instead, Antonio Negret takes the reins here and shows few signs of inspiration or real talent. He turns out a film heavy on clichés and light on excitement or creativity.
Not that the script leaves much room for freshness, as it ladles out on trite character and plot point after another. Overdrive feels as stale as its banal title.
Still, even with a dull screenplay, Negret could’ve done more with the material than he did. The movie simply lacks any real vivacity, as everything here feels flat and generic. The action scenes boast some good stunts but they fail to deliver actual tension or excitement.
The actors all look good but they can’t bring life to their parts. The characters start as predictable and forgettable and never elevate above those ranks.
In the end, Overdrive feels like the derivative action movie it is. It fails to do anything new or exciting, so it winds up as a forgettable experience.