Former hotshot racecar driver Peter Roberts (Thomas Jane) traded the winner's circle for safety, stability, a pile of debts and a 9 to 5 job as a beginners’ driving instructor. But his life shifts into overdrive when mysterious out-of-towner Simon Keller (John Cusack) shows up for a driving lesson and hijacks Peter to be his getaway driver in a $9 million heist. Now these unlikely fugitives are on a white knuckle race to stay one step ahead of the mobsters who want their money back and the corrupt cops who will kill anyone who gets in their way. Peter and Simon just might have a have a chance, if they can stick to the plan, drive faster than the bullets being fired at them…and don’t kill each other first.
Earlier this year, a little movie trailer graced us with its presence. It had two excellent actors (John Cusack and Thomas Jane), some fast cars, some funny dialogue, and what looked like some genuine thrills. It had a solid premise and had all the right aspects in the trailer to make this film seem like a box office hit. Formally titled 'Hard Drive', 'Leprechaun 3 and 4' director Brian Trenchard Smith, originally wrote this movie as a vehicle for Jean Claude Van Damme, but JCVD declined, so he re-wrote the script for Thomas Jane and John Cusack, and reversed the original title.
'Drive Hard' or at least the entire story and plot points have been done many times before. It seems like there wasn't one single original thought in the movie. From the the very start of the film, you'll almost instantly know where the film will take you, climax, and resolve, which doesn't leave you in a state of suspense at all. This is unfortunate, considering this is supposed to be an thrilling action movie with some good comedic moments. The only thing it really has going for it is its two main stars, Cusack and Jane, who deliver good performances with the shoddy material they've been given.
Peter Roberts (Thomas Jane) is a retired race car driver who has a family and now teaches people how to drive in Australia. He decided to get away from the glamorous lifestyle of a famous race car driver so he can live the quiet life, but he still misses some of the thrills his former job gave him. Meanwhile, an American named Simon Keller (John Cusack) calls up Peter to instruct him how to drive. This didn't make sense to me, because why would an grown American man want to take driving lessons in Australia?But this movie being what it is, Peter never questions this point and off they are.
We soon learn that Simon is actually a bank robber and almost immediately robs a bank for millions and has Peter drive the car. Now the two men are on a big police chase along the Australian coast. In between police chases and gunfire, they come in contact with bad elements along the way, all of which seem more like they belong in a Mel Brooks movie than a big car chase auctioner.
And as usual in these types of buddy criminal action movies, the two strangers end up forming a bond and begin to understand where the other is coming from. Hey, they might even be good friends one day. But there is nothing here that you won't see coming from a mile away. The chemistry between Jane and Cusack is quite good. They play off each other very well and even deliver some decent emotional moments from time to time.
The action sequences are a little on the light side, but there is a fair share of violence. It just won't blow you out of the water so to speak. The pacing is fairly good, although there are a couple of dull moments when Peter and Simon try to talk about their feelings. If they would have stuck to the action at hand, it would have been a more entertaining film. But alas, 'Drive Hard' hardly makes it to the finish line.
'Drive Hard' comes with a solid 1080p HD transfer presented in 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This low budget action-comedy was filmed with some fairly good digital HD cameras, giving the image a very pristine and vivid look. Detail is very sharp throughout, giving closeups a well defined image that show wrinkles, scars, and individual hairs very nicely and easily. The coast of Australia looks amazing here as well with great background images that are also crystal clear. The detail on each vehicle is strong and bold.
The colors are intense as well, however the director crushed the entire image in a yellowish-orange color, which actually hinders the picture from really popping off screen the way it should. I'm not sure why Smith went with this stylistic choice, but it seemed to not do the film any justice. Black levels are deep and inky, but since there are not a whole lot of darker lit scenes, you won't notice much. The skin tones are natural and there are no issues with any banding, aliasing or bad crush, leaving this video presentation with solid marks.
'Drive Hard' sounds quite good for the type of action-comedy movie it is. With the film basically being one big car chase and action film, the vehicle sounds, the revving of the engines, and the tires burning rubber all sound great and loud. The gun shots, and fight scenes also sound good, but not at the level of a big science fiction epic. Directionality is especially good here as well.
Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow and free of any pops, cracks, or hissing. Sound effects, especially during the heavier action sequences are robust and use the full surround sound speakers each time they get. Ambient noises sporadically pop their heads up from time to time as well. The LFE is great and the dynamic range is wide as well. With a well-rounded soundtrack and score, this audio presentation deserves good marks.
There are no extras. Only a DVD copy to go with the Blu-ray and a few trailers play before the Menu comes up. It would have been nice to see some stunt work bonus features or at least a gag reel with these two, as it looks like they had a great time together, but unfortunately there are no extras.
'Drive Hard' stars John Cusack and Thomas Jane, two actors who it's safe to say are quite popular. This duo has some great chemistry and comes to life in this car chase action-comedy film. Unfortunately, there is not one original bone in its body, and the comedy borders on slapstick. The video and audio presentations are quite good, but there are zero extras. This release is worth a look, but a rental is as far as I'd take this.