Overdrive Review: Scott Eastwood proves his Fast and the Furious credentials in high-octane heist movie, Overdrive.
Overdrive could easily be part of the Fast and the Furious universe. Not only does it star Scott Eastwood, who appeared as Little Nobody in the most recent outing, but it also features a plot straight out of an early Fast film. Here we have half-brothers Andrew (Scott Eastwood) and Garrett (Freddie Thorp) whom are career criminals that make a living stealing and fencing classic cars. However, after attempting to steal a car from the wrong guy whilst in Marseille, the siblings find themselves in the grips of the local crime boss Jacomo Morier (Simon Abkarian). The only way out is to steal a car belonging to one of Morier’s rivals. It’s a near impossible task and the brothers must recruit help if they want to get out of this bad situation.
It’s been a while since Dom and his gang really bothered with cars and heists, these days they’re more preoccupied with being special agents, saving the world from terrorists. Granted the films are still a lot of fun, but they’ve forgotten where they came from. This does leave the door open for a successor, and Overdrive offers just that, taking us back to that simpler time.
Whilst less complex in terms of the story, Overdrive ramps up the action, attempting stunts that would make even the Fast team baulk. Within the opening moments we get to see Eastwood throwing himself off of a bridge onto a moving lorry and later there’s a game of ‘drive across the just exploded bridge’. Sadly, there are no flying cars, but it’s just as high-octane as fans of this genre have come to expect. There are car chases aplenty and more vintage cars on display than at a classic car convention. Petrol-heads are going to love this.
Brothers always play well on film, and here Eastwood and Thorp work well together. The fact that one is British, the other American, takes a little getting used to, but the duo work as brothers. There’s an easy back and forth between the pair which makes for enjoyable watching. As characters there is little room in the script for them to go further than the sensible older brother ready to settle down and get out of the business, and the younger reckless brother in for the thrill-ride. We get the usual clash of personalities and spats, but the audience haven’t come here for a drama about sibling rivalry.
Joining the brothers are Andrew’s girlfriend Stephanie (Ana De Armas) and her pick-pocketing BFF, Devin (Gaia Weiss), whom add the female element to the testosterone-heavy feature. Disappointingly, as with the Fast films, these ladies aren’t given a whole heap to do. Devin is a compulsive thief, and given her frequency of stealing, it’s a wonder she isn’t already in prison. Weiss plays her as feisty and cool, but other than stealing, we don’t see a lot from her. Armas gets even less to do as she’s stuck firmly in the girlfriend zone. She’s basically Overdrive‘s Jordana Brewster, although both do get more work than the rest of the ‘crew’ who are pretty much confined to ensemble shots rather than given any solo time.
However, this is a genre focused on high-stakes action and it is there that Overdrive excels. The car chases are slick and stylish, highlighting just why Eastwood deserves his place in Dom’s family, and the action is just as strong as it’s bigger-budgeted cousin. A high-octane, adrenaline-soaked heist movie on wheels, Overdrive takes us back to the time when car films were just that.
Overdrive review by Kat Hughes, July 2017
Overdrive is currently playing at the Fantasia International Film Festival.