Release Date: June 28, 2017
Run Time: 1 hour 53 minutes
After Credit Scene: NO
IMAX Viewing: NO
3D Viewing: NO
Reviewer: Wayne Demers
The Dope Sheet Score: 7.8 out of 10
A Non-Spoiler Review
Baby, who as a child was in an auto accident that causes him to have a hearing problem that also allows him to have extreme focus to be one of the best getaway drivers around. Forced to pay back a considerable debt, he drives for teams of thieves at the direction of Doc. Soon he is left to decide, continue as part of Doc’s crew or take a chance on love and flee the only world he knows.
What works: This is a fun film for the most part. The cast of John Hamm (Mad Men), Jamie Fox (come on, you know who Jamie fox is!), Jon Bernthal (Walking Dead, Daredevil) and Kevin Spacey (House of Cards) were excellent as one would expect. New comer Ansel Elgort (The Fault in our Stars), did a very good job and was convincing as a talented driver. Both Hamm and Fox give you one heck of a performance. I don’t recall Fox playing a role that was this dark, but I loved him. Eiza Gonzalez is great eye candy and did a good job of playing that tough sexy “Bonnie” type of character. And less I forget Kevin Spacey who does what Spacey does. Not a poor performance by any stretch, but you aren’t going to get anything new from him either. Every actor brings something to their role that together as an ensemble, is a nearly perfect cast.
If you like car chase scenes, you get plenty of them and they are a thrill to watch. Outside of the overdone Fast and Furious franchise, I don’t recall such great chase scenes since Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Death Proof.’ You really must hand it to those stunt drivers and don’t be surprised if they are recognized with awards for stunts performed in this film. The soundtrack was excellent and it has a little bit for everyone. The songs give a great tone to the scenes and are used in a way that they are almost a character in the film. The final act is thrilling and the director puts the story into overdrive, letting the actors loose to have some fun that the audience will enjoy.
What doesn’t work: The first act was exciting and at the same time rough. Beyond the chase scene, the introduction to the character Baby was annoying and I was concerned this was the person I was going to have to watch for the rest of the movie. Thankfully, the character is only annoying for the first act. Some of the dialog, only at times, seemed as if it was written by a 16 yr old. Short choppy banter between Baby and love interest Debora (Lily James) doesn’t do well to develop the chemistry between them and came across forced and awkward. Eventually there is chemistry between Baby and Debora. Baby lives with a roommate and there really is no need to have included this character. There are other elements of Baby that could have occupied time on screen other than this relationship with his roommate that added little value. Lily James was good with what she was given, but the character wasn’t developed with enough backstory for me to believe her interest in Baby and the other things I won’t go into so we don’t spoil anything for you. I wouldn’t say it is an acting issue, thought she was very good, just I needed more story to believe her. The movie is almost 2 hours long, but felt like it was 20 min. longer that it actually was.
All too often we see films with an all-star cast with a story that doesn’t deliver. This isn’t one of those films. I feel the film falls short on character development and had it a little more and one less sub plot, the movie would have been more enjoyable. This movie delivers on thrills and excitement far than what was expected. This movie will forever be one of those films mentioned with great car chase movies such as Ronin, Bullitt, The French Connection, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, Two Lane Blacktop, Smokey and the Bandit, etc.
On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, I give Baby Driver a 7.8. It is worth seeing in the theater and maybe a popcorn combo.
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