The Driver is back, this time in the employ of ruthless mercenaries charged with delivering a living human clone: a teenage girl that knows only about the world she sees for the first time from what she's read. Pursued by the FBI, this is a job The Driver will see through to his own decisive conclusion.
Short movie Homage to the 15th anniversary, The Escape, is a short BMW film featuring the release of a new model series. "The Escape" is a 13-minute live action short film from 2016, this year, and actually it was released only a week ago. It follows the tradition of BMW promo movies from the early 2000s and this one was made by Oscar-nominated South African writer and director Neill Blomkamp ("District 9"). It is the 15th anniversary of these films all made by fairly famous directors and this one here is no exception. Apart from a clearly aged Clive Owen picking up his Driver character again, there are also the Oscarnominated Vera Farmiga in here as well as rising talent Dakota Fanning and Jon Bernthal. Let me start by saying that I liked some of the older BMW films, but I did not end up loving any of these and some I just found really bland and boring. Frequently, it was all about the action and the story was really so weak or almost non-existent that it was not good enough to justify a movie made about it. They obviously wanted to make sure it is all about the car and the action resulting from it. I do not approve of this approach though and this is why I do not think this is a quality sequel to the series. Thumbs-down from me. It felt like a very empty movie in terms of story and characters and they failed in making it relevant. Not recommended.
After a decade-and-a-half break The Hire returns with a bang. The Escape definitely feels like the original films and is a worthy sequel regarding the production standards. Everything is here - the speed, the tricks, the booms and of course, the driver and his BMW. The passenger is once again cast splendidly and the antagonist feels real. Yet I just can't help feeling deja-vu's all over:
the child on the back seat that's transported for the wrong reasons - a helicopter brought down by the car without using any weapons - the driver changing his mind in favor of the character that the films builds empathy around - all forces working against the driver - that he escapes sublimely
All this doesn't matter though, because what you get is a state-of-the-art action short film for free. It does everything right in terms of impression and its original purpose - which is to promote a car. And by doing so BMW builds a carefully designed image that combines reliability with coolness. The driver always acts in favor of the audience - and so does his car.
So what is this? To me it's more a homage to the original series than an actual sequel. At this point no further installments have been announced so I think if there was an upcoming series it would have to dig a little deeper into the character of the driver - or else it would prove to be what it was originally made for: an extremely cool car car commercial. I believe it can effortlessly be both.