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'Drive Hard' stalls out

'Drive Hard' stalls out
A scene from the movie "Drive Hard." (Voltage Pictures)

"Drive Hard," an Australian buddy-action-comedy about a driving instructor (Thomas Jane) turned getaway man, does a lot of revving in order to juice its jokey, violent bad-boy cred, but it never gets out of the driveway.

It doesn't help that characters start as action male clichés and stay there. Jane's Peter Roberts is the once-dangerous ex-racer reduced to henpecked, dim-bulb husband in a dead-end job until he meets taunting man-in-black Mr. Keller (John Cusack). Keller starts out as a customer before unwittingly including Peter on his heist of a criminal syndicate's millions in bearer bonds.

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By all intents and purposes this type of catch-us-if-you-can scenario should be grimy, backslapping fun in a "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot" fashion, but the whole thing reeks instead of testosterone past its use-by date: The stars' banter is insipid and unfunny, the wacky shocks short out and, most unforgivably, the car chases are a snooze, filmed as a series of stationary close-ups and diced in the editing room until they suggest anything but movement.

"Drive Hard" is mostly just mean-spirited and empty, but director Brian Trenchard-Smith thinks you won't notice if everything's loud and chaotic, and guns are occasionally pointed and fired.

"Drive Hard."

No MPAA rating.

Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes.

Playing AMC Burbank Town Center 8.

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