You Can "Drive Hard", But You Won't Like It When You Get There Review

Former race car driver Peter Roberts (Thomas Jane) is having a terrible day. His wife isn’t supporting his dream to open a racing school, the bills are piling up, and he is bored with his job as a driving instructor. To make matters worse, his latest student Simon Keller (John Cusack) is a bank robber in search of a getaway driver, and Keller has decided that Roberts is the man for the job. Together, they have to escape the cops and the former gangsters running the bank, and if they succeed, they will split the take of $9 million.

American action movies are labeled formulaic all the time, but Drive Hard is one of the laziest movies I have ever seen, period. The Fast and the Furious franchise might be predictable, but the action choreographers are creative and over-the-top with their driving sequences. For having the title Drive Hard, there is a lot of leisurely country driving in this movie. Worse, the characters have no chemistry, and the attempts at humor fall flat every time. The script forces in R-rated language for no reason other than to seem edgy, but nothing can punch up this utterly generic dialogue. John Cusack is trying to channel James Spader in The Blacklist, but like Rocket Raccoon, nobody does Spader but Spader. As for Thomas Jane, I have absolutely no idea what he is going for with his character as his motivation and acting choices change from scene to scene and even sometimes within a single scene.

What makes Drive Hard really despicable, though, is the rampant misogyny throughout. As Keller and Roberts become unlikely friends, Keller convinces Roberts that all his troubles stem from his wife. She is a successful lawyer and makes more money than Roberts earns at his driving instructor job, and according to the movie, that is a big problem. Keller insists that secretly, she never wanted him to quit racing, and he is a giant pussy for choosing his family over his racing career. All of these revelations are framed as tough truths from a straight-shooter like Keller, and if only Roberts would man up, everything would be fine. Also, Keller makes a point of telling a villain from the bank that he screwed his wife, like a dog marking his territory.

Misogyny aside, Drive Hard has nothing to offer anyone. The driving sequences are boring and terribly edited. The script feels like it was generated by a computer program loaded with every action movie cliché, and both leads are completely obnoxious and unfunny. It is one of the worst movies of 2014 and an embarrassment to everyone involved.


The Blu-ray/DVD set comes with the film on Blu-ray and DVD and absolutely no special features on either disc. This is as bare-bones as it gets.

"Drive Hard" is on sale November 11, 2014 and is not rated. Action. Directed by Brian Trenchard Smith. Written by Brian Trenchard-Smith, Brigitte Jean Allen. Starring John Cusack, Thomas Jane.

Rachel Kolb • Staff Writer

I love movies, writing, and breaking into song in public. You can follow me on Twitter @rachelekolb or check out more of my work at


New Reviews