Absolutely awful “Action/Comedy” about a former race car driver–now the henpecked owner of a driving school in Australia–who gets tricked into serving as a “wheel-man” after a mysterious stranger pulls a heist at a bank.
We hung on until the end, suffering embarrassment for two good actors–John Cusack (aka thief) & Thomas Jane (aka wheel-man)–who are caught in a crude mess. (JLH: 1/5)
Directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith with screenplay by Brigitte Jean Allen, Chad Law, and Evan Law (in collaboration Brian Trenchard-Smith). Click HERE for our FF2 Haiku.
Drive Hard starts in a domestic space guaranteed to set men’s teeth on edge.
“Peter Roberts” (Thomas Jane) is having breakfast with his wife and daughter. His wife “Tessa” (Yesse Spence) is immaculate in chic professional duds. His daughter “Stacy” (Francesca Bianchi) is a tween in a very starched and proper private school uniform. Peter, on the other hand, is a shlub who seems to get his satisfaction in life–such as it is–by refusing to cut his hair. Of course Tessa is too busy to take Stacy to school and of course Stacy is embarrassed by the possibility that any of her school chums will see her Dad drop her off. And… my heart started to sink…
Peter’s next stop is his driving school (which turns out to be another female-dominated space). But this day is different. When he arrives (after dutifully dropping Stacy just the right distance from her school), Peter learns a mysterious stranger is waiting for him. He doesn’t want a lesson from any of the women who work there. He wants his lesson from Peter aka “The Boss.”
This mysterious stranger in his black leather jacket and baseball cap also has an American accent (just like Peter), and as they drive around the Australian Gold Coast, the plot machinations begin. “Simon Keller” (John Cusack) has come looking for Peter because he knows that inside that shaggy henpecked exterior, Peter is actually an F-1 champion! Yowza!
And so we spend several minutes toodlin’ around–with Simon always veering towards the American side of the road rather than on the Australian side of the road–until Simon finally asks Peter to make a small stop so he can run a quick errand. At which point, Simon deftly steals $9 million dollars worth of Bearer Bonds. Let the chase–complete with obligatory macho hijinks–begin!
Bottom Line: This bank heist/road trip flick set in Australia is so bad that I could barely watch. My heart goes out to John Cusack and Thomas Jane — two terrific actors who must have hated every minute of this gig. NOT RECOMMENDED!
Top Photo: Thomas Jane may simper at home but he’s a demon behind the wheel. Yech!
Middle Photo: John Cusack is the wise-cracking, pistol-snapping “bad buy” with a heart of gold. Oy!
Bottom Photo: Since the humans are so totally unbelievable, it obviously falls to the cars to provide whatever semblance of reality exists on screen
Photo Credits: Mark “Tubby” Taylor (IMDb sic)
Q: Does Drive Hard pass the Bechdel Test?
There are a couple of mother/daughter scenes–as Peter’s wife and child await word of him after he disappears–but the totality of their [limited] conversation revolves around him. Same thing for the ladies who work for Peter at the driving school.
Really, folks: The only real objects of interest in this film are the cars, and they exist in a “For Guys Only” universe 🙁