You have to feel a bit for Scott Eastwood. It must be difficult trying to follow in the footsteps of an illustrious father and even harder trying to forge your own path. His career to date has been a bit of a mixed bag. Supporting roles in Fate of the Furious and Suicide Squad have not been particularly memorable and his turns as a lead have not showcased his talents to the best effect. He is good actor with screen presence so he needs to find the right project to really catapult him to the next level. Unfortunately his latest film, Overdrive, is unlikely to do that.
After stealing a vintage Bugatti car the Foster brothers (Scott Eastwood and Freddie Thorp) find themselves in a bit of trouble. They are high end car thieves and have just found out that they have stolen from the wrong guy, an underworld boss based in Marseilles. They mange to avoid a bullet to the head by pitching the idea of a another daring theft. They propose stealing a priceless Ferrari sports car from the business rival of the boss. The idea takes root and the brothers are given a week to pull together a team and execute the plan. The fact that the rival boss is no fool and Interpol are investigating them only adds to the problems.
Overdrive looks like the product of a committee meeting. There are strong elements from the Fast & Furious franchise which are too obvious to ignore. The emphasis on a strong leader, a suitably flash but competent team and a daring plan including motor vehicles begs comparisons to the multi movie franchise. Except, here the lack of scope and a much lower budget really hinders the ambitions of the film.
There is nothing good to say about the characters at all. The brothers have the kind of relationship you only ever see in the movies. They have banter but it feels forced and only there for (slight) comedic effect. Eastwood and Thorp are obviously talented actors but they are let down by the material they are given to work with. The time taken to introduce these characters and establish their relationship never pays off in the overall scheme of things. The whole back story about them being half brothers with a dead father who had a love of cars, especially Ferrari cars is laboured to the point of being boring. They didn’t need to mention it every twenty minutes or so. We get it.
The supporting cast is a real mixed bag. We get short intros for the primary protagonists and the female sidekicks. The rest of the characters are barely even given any scree time. Given that this is basically a car chase film that could be forgiven but there are about a dozen people involved in the heist so a little more character development would be nice. There just isn’t the time for that as the emphasis is on the chase sequences.
So. onto the actual action set pieces that pull the film together. Dull and uninspiring is the best way to describe them. They are all too long and are shot and edited in such a way to remove any tension and excitement. With a small budget the options are limited but that is where the imagination of the film makers should take over. Here we are treated to scenes and action that we have seen too many times before. Every action beat is telegraphed to the viewer before it happens and gives you nothing to engage with. For a film that relies on the cars it is more than a disappointment. There is a distinct lack of cars getting damaged. Only a couple of cars actually sustain any dents and they are never the classic cars that the camera lovingly lingers on at multiple points in the film.
I never like having a go at a film as there are dozens of very talented people involved in the production but when something as lazy as this is the end product there is no other way to treat it. As for Scott Eastwood there’s always the new Pacific Rim film.