Title: Drive Hard

Image Entertainment

Director: Brian Trenchard-Smith

Writers: Chad Law, Evan Law, Brigitte Jean Allen and Brian Trenchard-Smith

Cast: John Cusack, Thomas Jane

Running Time: 1 hr. 36 min., Unrated

On DVD: 10.03.14

Peter Roberts (Thomas Jane) is former American champion race car driver that lives in Queensland Austrailia with his nagging lawyer wife (Yessie Spence) and their uppity private schooled daughter (Francesca Bianchi). With no real skills, he’s forced to become a driving instructor on the other side of the road. He and his wife haven’t had sex in 6 months and his daughter tells him flat out that he doesn’t deserve her respect.  What a peach. Peter goes into work and gets an American client, Simon Keller (John Cusack) whom seems to have a little trouble with the opposite side issue, but otherwise, not a bad driver.  They spend a few hours together, learning about Peter’s unhappy life and Keller delving advice until Peter unknowningly becomes the driver in Simon’s bank robbery of 9 million dollars.  Keller threatens Peter with a gun, but is rather nice about asking him to be his driver until he can escape the country. He’ll pay him a hefty reward for his trouble. In the meantime Peter is portrayed in the media as an accomplice, and he has to convince his wife that he’s not involved, even though he’s such a loser (in her eyes) that she thinks it’s possible.  The bank goes under investigation because the owner is an American and accused of money laundering and federal agent Walker (Zoe Ventoura) takes over the investigation away from the corrupt chief of detectives (Damien Garvey).  Keller and Peter buddy around the Gold Coast while they evade motorcycle gangs and the feds, and Peter gets his confidence back as well as some advice on how to stand up to his wife and be a hero to his daughter.

The Good: The funniest part is when the guys stop at a petrol station and get recognized by the clerk who accidentally shoots his own head off. So random, but this film needed a bit of random. Too bad it was just one scene.

The Bad: With a movie titled “Drive Hard” there’s not a lot of wide shots of them actually doing some intense driving. It disappoints with that title because you’re expecting maybe some Toyko Drift and we are left with Driving Miss Daisy Driving Mr. Keller.  Okay…where the hell did they get the kid? Is she a producer’s kid that stipulated they don’t get funding unless they cast her? She was the worst. I don’t even care if she gets her feelings hurt if by some bizarro world chance she’s reading this, somebody’s gotta be honest and tell her that she can’t act. I mean it’s cringe-worthy. Some kids need their dreams dashed upon a wall. You can only put so much blame on the director and the acting by all was pretty iffy, even with experienced actors like Cusack and Jane. Let’s move onto the dialogue…most of it sounds like improvising, and not at all good. The majority of the insults come off like it was written by a 10 year old kid who heard a few obscure insults from his dad that’s stuck in the 80’s. I was almost waiting for a laugh track. It tries too hard to be funny and just comes off as pathetic.

I’m really getting a little depressed as I see where John Cusack’s career is heading. We haven’t seen much of Thomas Jane either since his last mentionable credit seems to be The Mist from 2007.  I want to be supportive, but these two are making some bad project decisions.   Dudes, what happened? Drive Hard is a disappointing and forgettable straight to DVD film. A lot of critics are saying the same thing about catching this late at night when you’ve got nothing else on, but I would just say “F— it” and count some sheep.

Acting: D-

Story: C

Technical: F

Total Rating: D

Reviewed by: JM Willis


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