Drive Hard

Featured In Issue 194, February 2015

WSR Score2.5
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Brian Trenchard-Smith
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In Drive Hard, former hotshot racer driver Peter Roberts (Jane) traded the winner's circle for safety, stability, a pile of debts, and a 9 to 5 job as a beginners' driving instructor. But his life shifts into overdrive when mysterious out-of-towner Simon Keller (Cusack) shows up for a driving lesson and hijacks Peter be his getaway driver in a $9 million heist. Now these unlikely fugitives are on a white knuckle race to stay one step ahead of the mobsters who want their money back and the corrupt cops who will kill anyone who gets in their way. Peter and Simon just might have half a chance if they can stick to the plan, drive faster than the bullets being fired at them…and don't kill each other first. Based on the screenplay by Chad and Evan Law.

Special features include upfront previews.

The 1.78:1 1080p AVC picture was photographed with the Red digital camera system. While contemporarily crisp, the imagery exhibits a “digital” presence with well-defined textures. The imagery of the Austrian Gold Coast is effectively inviting and beautiful. Clarity is excellent, as well as fine detail in facial features. Fleshtones are generally natural but inconsistent in tone. Colors are sternly saturated but naturally hued. Contrast is generally balanced, with deep blacks and decent shadow delineation. Still, the picture comes across as being digitally photographed.

The DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is pretty lame considering the "hard driving" imagery. The sound is overly laid back, including veiled atmospherics and special effects, which lack the heightened bass extension expected. Even when a motorcycle gang catches up with Roberts and Keller on the open highway and a subsequent shootout sequence toward the end, the bass is wimpy. The other element that is wanting in spatial integration is the dialogue, which is far forward sounding. The music score also is lamely veiled and lacking in dynamics. Overall, this is a disappointing sonic experience that misses the mark for dynamic excitement.