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Review: Drive Hard

Drive Hard
06.25.2014
2 10

PLOT: A former race-car driver (Thomas Jane) turned driving instructor in Australia has the misfortune to have a lesson scheduled with a mysterious fellow-American (John Cusack), who coerces him into being his getaway driver following a bank robbery

REVIEW: When the trailer for DRIVE HARD dropped a few months ago, many of us weren't quite sure what to make of it. It suggested an awkward mix of humor and comedy bolstered by the presence of two notable leading men (Cusack and Jane – both of whom have seen better days), but the production value seemed rather chintzy.

Still, the presence of Brian Trenchard-Smith in the director's chair gave some of us (including me) a lot of hope. For those not in the know, Trenchard-Smith was one of the most notable directors to emerge from the grindhouse ozploitation days of Australian cinema, with none other than Quentin Tarantino citing him as a major influence. While he's done a lot of dreck in his time, including several LEPRECHAUN movies and the “awfully good' favorite MEGIDDO: THE OMEGA CODE 2, a Gold Coast set car chase movie sounded right up his alley. After all, he was able to make THE MAN FROM HONG KONG, DEATH CHEATERS, TURKEY SHOOT, and others on far less money. What could go wrong?

Plenty it seems. More-or-less a D-grade ripoff of COLLATERAL, DRIVE HARD probably would have been a blast if it was made in the 1970s. Back then, Trenchard-Smith would have had stuntmen like Grant Page performing jaw-dropping daredevil acts of insanity, and the result would have no doubt been everyone's favorite kind of cheese. Sadly, things are different nowadays, and the type of things they got away with back then just can't be done anymore. As a result, DRIVE HARD is deadly dull, with some of the most boring car chases I've seen since BALLISTIC: ECKS VS SEVER, as Jane and Cusack (or their doubles) tear-down curiously abandoned stretches of road, pausing far too often for dull exposition and cringe-worthy comedy. Low points include a gun-totting senior, a bike gang that's about as threatening as Vanilla Ice's crew from COOL AS ICE, and villains that are so bland they're almost non-existent.

As for stars Thomas Jane and John Cusack, of the two Jane seems to be the one who's putting more on the line, and it's no stretch to think that given the right material, he could nail an action movie (as he did in the underrated STANDER several years ago). Cusack – however – phones it in big time. He seems to have wandered onto the set wearing pretty much the same get-up he wears in every movie now, meaning a black suit jacket, and a black cap. One assumes he took this for a quick buck and not much else. I'm not sure exactly what the point of having Cusack never take off his sunglasses was. Either they were trying to make him eccentric (he also never removes his leather gloves) or Cusack just couldn't be bothered. The downside is that the set lighting is often reflected in his shades, giving the movie a really low-rent vibe, not helped by some really bad green-screen work and terrible process shots of the stars in their souped-up getaway car.

Still, all of this could have been forgiven if DRIVE HARD at least had a bit of good action, but for a movie bearing this title, there's a curious shortage of hard-driving. At best this feels like a second-rate TV show, which is so disappointing as there's no reason this couldn't have been a fun buddy-comedy-action throwback. Say what you will about Trenchard-Smith, but his movies usually have some flair or a steady pace, but I don't know what happened here. Maybe the budget was cut midway through shooting or something like that, but the result barely feels like a film at all. The plot – which involves crooked cops, a corrupt bank, and a cartel of killers – hardly makes a lick of sense, and by the time this rolls to a merciful end, you'll be utterly petrified at the hint of a sequel, which these seems to promise (threaten?).

As such, you probably won't be seeing DRIVE HARD at a theater near you anytime soon, although given the names involved it should hit VOD sooner-or-later. Being a Canadian-Australian co-production, it's gotten an early VOD release north-of-the-border, a similar fate to another best-forgotten Cusack vehicle, THE FACTORY. This one scrapes the bottom-of-the-barrel folks. Skip it.

Source: JoBlo.com

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9:15AM on 06/25/2014

great actor?

Apart from the mist what has tom jane been great in?
Apart from the mist what has tom jane been great in?
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12:17PM on 06/25/2014
he was great in The Punisher, Dreamcatcher, Deep Blue Sea, Stander (real underrated flick) and his best performance was a tremendous one in I Melt With You, definitely definitely worth a shot. Fantastic movie. He was also damn good in his HBO series Hung which he led for 3 years. Oh yeah and he was also great in 61* where he played Mickey Mantle.
he was great in The Punisher, Dreamcatcher, Deep Blue Sea, Stander (real underrated flick) and his best performance was a tremendous one in I Melt With You, definitely definitely worth a shot. Fantastic movie. He was also damn good in his HBO series Hung which he led for 3 years. Oh yeah and he was also great in 61* where he played Mickey Mantle.
3:02PM on 06/25/2014
he's hilarious in Boogie Nights
he's hilarious in Boogie Nights
8:07AM on 06/25/2014
Despite the shitty review, I still want to see this. Huge fan of both Cusack and Jane and are two proven actors that need to be in better material.
Despite the shitty review, I still want to see this. Huge fan of both Cusack and Jane and are two proven actors that need to be in better material.
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9:13AM on 06/25/2014
Lol
Lol
7:32AM on 06/25/2014
What happened to these two great actors? Don't Cuba Gooding, Jr.-yourself, Mr Cusack and Mr. Jane!
What happened to these two great actors? Don't Cuba Gooding, Jr.-yourself, Mr Cusack and Mr. Jane!
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9:40AM on 06/25/2014
Your use of Cuba Gooding, Jr. as a verb is inspired and I really hope Cusack does not go down that path.
Your use of Cuba Gooding, Jr. as a verb is inspired and I really hope Cusack does not go down that path.
11:06AM on 06/25/2014
Haha, thanks, man. Regarding Cuba Gooding, Jr., I don't know what happened to him either. After he got the Oscar from Jerry Maguire, things went downhill for him. Roles after roles in B movies. That's sad. At least John Cusack was very creepy and effective in Grand Piano. Thomas Jane should get better roles as well. Love his movie "Give 'Em Hell Malone".
Haha, thanks, man. Regarding Cuba Gooding, Jr., I don't know what happened to him either. After he got the Oscar from Jerry Maguire, things went downhill for him. Roles after roles in B movies. That's sad. At least John Cusack was very creepy and effective in Grand Piano. Thomas Jane should get better roles as well. Love his movie "Give 'Em Hell Malone".
4:42PM on 06/25/2014
"Regarding Cuba Gooding, Jr., I don't know what happened to him either."

He made Snow Dogs, that's what i like to imagine happened to him.
"Regarding Cuba Gooding, Jr., I don't know what happened to him either."

He made Snow Dogs, that's what i like to imagine happened to him.
2:37AM on 06/25/2014
Here's what's amazing to me: Cusack has continued getting paid around $5-6MM per film in films with budgets averaging over $30MM, yet NONE of these movies have seen a theatrical release or a wide release. Also most are outside the major studio systems, yet they are trite genre faire. So the question is: Are these movies getting theatrical releases internationally, collecting respectable bank and justifying their continued production despite seemingly making no money stateside? Is Cusack just in
Here's what's amazing to me: Cusack has continued getting paid around $5-6MM per film in films with budgets averaging over $30MM, yet NONE of these movies have seen a theatrical release or a wide release. Also most are outside the major studio systems, yet they are trite genre faire. So the question is: Are these movies getting theatrical releases internationally, collecting respectable bank and justifying their continued production despite seemingly making no money stateside? Is Cusack just in the mood to make a quick buck regardless of true quality? Did he do something behind the scenes to get himself black listed from more tent pole/studio productions? Anybody got the scoop?
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7:35AM on 06/25/2014
Just curious, how do you know he makes that much per film? I would have guessed half that!
Just curious, how do you know he makes that much per film? I would have guessed half that!
11:48AM on 06/25/2014
I don't "know" that he makes that much per film, but like I said, there's consistent data out there on these non-theatrically released movies' budgets being in the $25-30MM range. Shanghai cost $65MM. If you look at these films' casts and if you watch the movies, see the production values, you'll see that they aren't exactly throwing mountains of cash at anything, really. Figure most actors getting paid $7-10MM per movie show up in movies that cost around $35-50, guys making $12.5-17.5MM show
I don't "know" that he makes that much per film, but like I said, there's consistent data out there on these non-theatrically released movies' budgets being in the $25-30MM range. Shanghai cost $65MM. If you look at these films' casts and if you watch the movies, see the production values, you'll see that they aren't exactly throwing mountains of cash at anything, really. Figure most actors getting paid $7-10MM per movie show up in movies that cost around $35-50, guys making $12.5-17.5MM show up in movies that cost around $60-100MM (Tom Cruise until recently) and the $20-25MM club show up in movies that cost $100MM+ (Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp until recently).

So if these movies really cost $25-30MM and look like they were made for an indie or close to indie budget or have no bankable actors other than Cusack, it's reasonable to assume that he maintains that 20% range of the budget for Lead Actor Cost. That gives him $5-6MM per movie.

None of his co-stars are remotely bankable outside of television, if that. I find it hard to believe that these movies look as low budget as they do, have as un-marketable of casts as they do and still cost $25-30MM while just paying Cusack $3MM or something.
1:54AM on 06/25/2014
"An awkward mix of humor and comedy"... what a twist!

Great COOL AS ICE reference tho.
"An awkward mix of humor and comedy"... what a twist!

Great COOL AS ICE reference tho.
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1:44AM on 06/25/2014
Is this the sequel to Drive Angry?
Is this the sequel to Drive Angry?
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