Quite a few times in the plastic action splat called “Overdrive,” characters say to their antagonists some variation of “You must think I’m stupid.” Sorry to break it to you, “Overdrive,” but all of you is stupid.
Choked with clichés, joyless, and with a suspense meter on empty, this France-set caper about classic-car-thieving half brothers (Scott Eastwood and Freddie Thorp) mixed up with a pair of violent, automobile-collecting crime lords (Simon Abkarian and Clemens Schick) is only for those who think the “Fast and the Furious” movies aren’t white and charmless enough. (The screenwriters wrote that series’ worst entry, “2 Fast 2 Furious.”)
With a movie history that includes “To Catch a Thief” and “The Transporter,” it didn’t seem possible to make roguish behavior, the southern coast of France and beautiful driving machines so dumb and dull, but “Overdrive” is directed by Antonio Negret with no inherent feel for the cinematic pleasures of crime and conspiracy, or for a picturesque location seeped in luxe danger. Instead, the shallow language of advertising visuals rule.
Meanwhile, Eastwood, son of Clint, looks lost, as if indecisive about whether his top notes should be rascally, or hard-edged, or sensitive, so he defaults to blank stare-down mode, whether facing a villain, Thorp, his sexy/hectoring girlfriend (Ana de Armas) or a rare, restored Bugatti. Does Eastwood really want to draw inherently unfair comparisons to his glare-master dad?
Rated: PG-13, for violence, action, some sexual material and language
Running time: 1 hour, 33 minutes
Playing: AMC Universal CityWalk