To say that car people everywhere are excited about the return of BMW Films is an understatement, to say the least, I for one, was literally full of excitement when the official return was announced last month.
The early noughties series of films from the German car-maker was called “The Hire” and it was series of several high octane, high action short films, featuring Brit actor Clive Owen as the nameless highly skilled Driver for hire. Driving various BMW’s across the film series, Owen’s now-famous cool as ice Driver was pitted against everyone from the devil himself to deviant criminals in search of diamonds, all were beautifully shot and directed by a selection of the film world’s greatest directors.
Now, BMW Films is back with an all-new, one-off 13-minute short titled “The Escape”. Owen returns as the iconic Driver alongside a star-studded cast, including Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds), Vera Farmiga (The Departed) and Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead).
The nameless Drivers car of choice in this short is the all-new G30 BMW 540i M Sport. I’d go so far as saying this is the right choice by BMW, the previous short films rarely featured range-topping models aside from ‘Star’ which featured the M5 E39. Likely though that the M550i is not quite ready yet as it’s slated for production a month or so after the new 5-series drops in February 2017. Either way, I think it’s a great choice and a great way to introduce the new 5-Series.
I won’t be giving too much away about the actual film itself, you need to watch it as this return is magnificent, to say the least. The story features a young teenage girl named “Five” (Fanning), in the opening minutes we get her background story which points to the fact that she is either the result and or possibly subject to highly illegal human cloning experiments, with the FBI knocking on the door, the mega-evil corporation has enlisted the Driver to transport “Five” to an undisclosed location.
From here on out you know that the Driver (Owen) despite what he does for a living, is a man or morals at heart and would never knowingly or willingly hand over “Five” to an inevitably terrible end at the hands of the evil mega-corporation, the action starts very quickly with the Driver showing his hand and confirming for the audience as to which side he is on. Many police and FBI cars get shot up, the helicopter destruction scene is absolutely one of the stand out scenes for me.
This is without a doubt a proper action movie with wonderfully shot sequences that would shame some larger budget full-length films, the driving whilst done in a hand-held, shaky action style which gives rise to a sense of pace and action in the middle act of the film as the Driver takes on all his pursuers directly and promptly defeats them as only the Driver can.
Owens appearance as the Driver is magnificent, he displays the trademark ice coolness that personifies who he is supposed to be, a lone gun for hire that we know likely works for some bad people but really we know he is one of the good guys in the end. Think of him like the A-Team but there is only one of him and he drives a certain German brand of car.
The Escape was directed by Neill Blomkamp (District 9 and Elysium) and it’s more great stuff from the acclaimed director. The action never stops and is fast-paced and beautifully shot, the starring actors put on strong performances. You almost forget this is basically a 13 minute BMW advert, but what an advert it is, an all out, action-packed thrill ride from start to finish.
The verdict then, fantastic work by Blomkamp, Owen, Fanning and all others involved. A very engaging and thrilling film, BMW Films are back, goddam what a magnificent return.
Watch BMW Films – The Escape: