My grandmother can drive faster than this. And she doesn't drive.
Drive Hard Blu-ray Review
It seems like John Cusack – and, to a certain extent Thomas Jane – have truly hit rock bottom with this low budget Australian production completely devoid of character, comedy, drama, action, thrills or interest.The banal story sees Cusack’s mysterious stranger book a lesson with Thomas Jane’s hen-pecked, washed-out, ex-racing driver-turned driving instructor, only to make a quick stop at a bank and improbably abscond with a suitcase full of millions, whereupon he tamely uses rubber bullets to pressure his driver into helping him make a speedy getaway.
Along the way, the two feebly escape a half a dozen police pursuit vehicles driven by the world’s worst cops; pick up a muscle car that breaks down; trade it in for another muscle car that doesn’t appear to do more than 30 mph; get beaten up by OAPs; get held up at a gas station in a comical sequence that feels right out of Naked Gun; get into ‘trouble’ with the world’s lamest biker gang; and get chased by the world’s worst mercenaries.Indeed, rather than concentrate their efforts on tense, fast-paced driving sequences, shootouts or even perhaps well-scripted banter between the two leads, the filmmakers appeared instead to focus on what they thought was the single biggest determining factor in the success of the movie: the order of words for the movie’s title. Originally called ‘Hard Drive’ – Thomas Jane’s character even says the famous words himself – somewhere along the line somebody thought this might have been a somewhat confusing title and instead shifted it to ‘Drive Hard’. Phew, they must have thought that this was a close call. Unfortunately, despite the hard work put into the title change, everything else smacks of woeful indifference, half-baked ideas, and phoned-in performances, with Cusack mildly imitating his Grosse Pointe Blank character only to the detriment of that underrated classic, and Jane looking increasingly like a bored Thomas Haden-Church. Seriously, avoid at all costs.
What is Drive Hard Blu-ray QualityDrive Hard crawls softly onto Region B-locked Blu-ray complete with a solid enough 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation in the movie’s original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 widescreen. Over-saturated – and not in a particularly stylish fashion – the film feebly, and wholly unsuccessfully, attempts to leave behind its non-existent budget, and instead just looks pathetic. Still, on a technical front, the detail is competent, with no overtly frustrating digital defects; no obvious softness, black crush, artifacting, banding, blocking, edge enhancement or DNR application.
It's not, technically, a bad presentation, but the low budget and terrible stylistic choices render it far from pleasing to the eye.
The colour scheme is pure orange. I’ve no idea what it was originally, but it’s steeped in orange thanks to some purported ‘style’ which, again, is wholly ineffective, and often renders skin tones and seemingly natural colours as artificial and skewed. Black levels are reasonably good, although there isn’t a single night sequence so there’s absolutely no way of judging just how strong they are, nor any means of judging shadow detail really. Far from a bad presentation, the only limitations are really the budgetary constraints and style-lacking stylistic choices.
How Does Drive Hard Blu-ray SoundOn the aural front the accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is similarly limited by the material on offer. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently throughout, largely emanating from across the fronts and centre channels. And the score, which tries its best to escalate the speed of things even when the vehicles involved seem utterly incapable of keeping up, is given room to breathe across the surrounds. But the effects are woefully muted and insubstantial – a few shotgun blasts ring true, but most handgun fire feels inadequate – and even the engine noises of the cars, which should by all accounts be high points in a film with this premise, are fairly muted and insubstantial. Again, it’s probably not just the presentation that’s to blame, as the material simply didn’t afford much in the way of sound design and expanse, but a beefier mix could have still been employed.
Drive Hard Blu-ray ExtrasZip.
Is Drive Hard Blu-ray Worth BuyingJohn Cusack hits rock bottom in this terrible straight-to-DVD feature which has absolutely no redeeming features whatsoever. With jarring and failed attempts at humour, Thomas Jane doing his best Thomas Haden Church impression, Cusack on muscle-memory Grosse Pointe Blank mode, and some of the WORST driving and "action" sequences ever committed to film (and I've seen plenty of Seagal's straight-to-video fare, so, believe me, I know just how bad things can get), I've no idea how anybody could take the simple idea of "bank robber kidnapping an ex-race car driver to help him make a getaway" and turn it into something so awful.
On the plus side, you won't have to drive very fast to escape this painfully slow mess.
Technically, the release is just about capable of being regarded as competent, although the inherent limitations of both the budget and the filmmakers' stylistic choices render both the video and audio as little more than average, and, with no extras whatsoever, I can't see even fans being particularly eager to pick this up. Although, that said, I can't see any fans in the first place. No, this is probably the first (non Seagal-starring) movie I've seen in a long while where I doubt anybody in the entire world will be able to say that they liked it. There's nothing to like. It's just terrible.
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