What will BMW Films produce when its driverless eventually cars take over? And what will Hollywood stars and directors do for work? While we don’t have answers to those questions, the new entry from the BMW Films series shows us the here and now. And like all sequels, it’s longer, louder, more expensive—and more confusing.
BMW Films announced its return a month ago with a teaser trailer. It brought back The Hire star Clive Owen, added Dakota Fanning and A-list Hollywood director Neill Blomkamp. Gearheads and car aficionados voiced excitement.
At nearly 11 minutes (13 minutes with credits), BMW Films new offering, The Escape, is the same length as the original eight films that made The Hire series an advertising icon 15 years ago. The Escape differs from its predecessors, however, in that the older films’ plots were more vague, and while they featured BMW’s cars, they were more focused on human elements.
The Escape is all bang but very little heart. Sure, the BMW 2017 5 Series model in the film looks spectacular. But the new iteration has lost the fun, the humanity, the noir, and the playfulness of the originals. It takes itself far too seriously. It could be a scene spliced out of a big-budget Hollywood action movie. In fact, it could be a scene from the latest Mission Impossible movie, a franchise in which BMW has become a main star.
Compare The Escape to the dark, chatty humor and commentary on fame in Star, with Madonna.
Or how about The Chosen, a playful film that was as much an auto ballet as a chase scene.
Powder Keg, meanwhile, lacked humor but had an emotional depth The Escape never approaches.
Or how about Beat the Devil, a stylized affair that did not even bother with the pretense that it was anything but an adrenaline rush.
With this as its grand return, perhaps it’s best that BMW has said this film is “a one-off thing.” To complement The Escape, BMW has also released two behind-the-scenes videos.
BMW sales were up nearly 5% in the US in September. The brand’s global September sales broke a record, up 10.5% YOY. And yet, thanks to strong SUV sales, BMW will likely lose its top spot among global luxury automakers to German rival Mercedes.