More un­der­achiever than Over­drive

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Over­drive Di­rec­tor: An­to­nio Ne­gret Star­ring: Scott East­wood, Fred­die Thorp, Ana De Ar­mas, Gaia Weiss

Roll up, roll up for an­other game of ac­tion- movie cliché bingo, the game in which lit­tle­known 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.


Moviestore / REX / Shutterstock

Scott East­wood and Fred­die Thorp.

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