First Thoughts: Baby Driver

OK, I just got around to seeing “Baby Driver” last night, rented it on iTunes…am I the last person on Earth to see this? Probably.

After a fairly fast-moving 2 hours or so, I admit that I liked it. I didn’t love it, no, and no, I probably won’t ever watch it again, but it was…fun.

Kevin Spacey (is he too toxic to ever be in another movie again?) plays the spidery master mind, Doc, pulling the strings and keeping an iron grip on his favorite getaway driver, Baby (Ansel Elgort) who did something or other to piss him off in the past.

Baby bobs his head to the beats with his omnipresent ear buds firmly in place, crushing the gas pedal and making the Atlanta PD look even more bumbling then they Key Stone cops. I can forgive this, because this wasn’t a “get away from the cops” movie, but still, there should definitely be some internal reviews regarding pursuit tactics. (I’m an expert because I watch car-chase channels on YouTube, so there!)

The relationship between Baby and an attractive waitress, Debora (Lily James) was (Thankfully!) kept to a bare bones level, with only one brief kissy-kissy scene to squirm through. I was very happy the plot stayed on target and focused on the relationships between the gang members, rather than veering off into a quagmire of silly soppiness with these two.

Which finally brings us to the what I felt was the most entertaining part of the film: the gang members.

In brief:

Buddy (John Hamm) – The putative white-collar criminal on the run, although he never confirms it. How he ended up getting involved with Doc and the other bank robbers is not clear…but who cares?

Darling (Eiza González) – The sexy, Mexican femme fatale whose only role in the film, as far as I can tell, is to grind on Buddy and provide a clunky plot device later in the movie to drive Buddy over the edge.

And finally, my favorite, Bats (Jamie Foxx), the requisite psychopath of the bunch, the perfect foil for Buddy’s cool-headedness. (By the way, on the IMDB page for this movie, Jamie Foxx isn’t even listed in the Cast section unless you click further on the minuscule “See full cast” link…strange)

I really wish it could have been Foxx’s Bats character present at the (rather silly) final showdown of the movie. Buddy just never came off as the cold-blooded killer Bats was, and that’s a shame because if your going to keep reappearing Terminator-like in the final showdown, you must have a sense of menace.

The interactions between the crooks is fluid and doesn’t get bogged down in pointless subplots and back stories. The shooting is kept to a minimum and focuses rather on Baby’s driving (hence the title, duh), which is fantastically filmed and, to my immense relief, no cars exploded during the chases! (Well, maybe the last one, but hell, that was the climax, so it can be forgiven.)

The biggest star of the film is arguably the music. The mishmash of pop tunes and rock songs that everybody remembers (but can’t quite remember their names) fill the soundtrack and are so well integrated into the action that I sometimes didn’t realize that there was music synchronizing the shooting, smashing, and general mayhem.

All in all, if you can suspend your disbelief and are in the mood for an uncomplicated mix of action and music, (with a not-so-subtle hint of The Usual Suspects, Drive, and Ocean’s 11) this movie is a totally acceptable time-waster on a rainy afternoon.

Dennis, May 2018

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4 comments to First Thoughts: Baby Driver

  • Guts3d

    I must admit I had zero intentions of ever seeing this movie, figuring it to be a explosion filled, gun slinging, one liner macho fest. As for the soundtrack, I think the studios are seeing the mega hit soundtrack albums to both “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies and seeing how much $$$ they can rake in with minimal expenditure, compared to paying a big name composer. Hmmm… Maybe a “Guardians of the Galaxy” review might be warranted…

  • Guardians of the Galaxy…First one was fun. Second one? Haven’t seen it yet. Remember that I live in the Scandinavian hinterland… 🙂

  • guts3d

    I can mail you a dvd or Blu-ray…

  • Thanks, really, but it will be out on Netflix soon enough. 🙂

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