The short answer is no, and there isn’t a longer one. But let a man dream why don’t you?
It’s been a while since John Cusack was a box-office draw, and it’s been just as long since he’s worn any color other than black. Coincidence? Probably not. His last lead role in a wide release was in 2012’s The Raven, and since then he’s starred in nine other films. Can you name more than one or two of them? Probably not.
The same can be said to an albeit lesser degree for the careers of both Thomas Jane and writer/director Brian Trenchard-Smith. Jane’s leading man status of the mid ’00s has devolved into supporting roles in indies, while Trenchard-Smith has kept busy with TV and DTV titles since his early ’80s one-two-three punch of Stunt Rock, Escape 2000, and BMX Bandits.
All three deserve a chance to get back into audiences’ line of sight and good graces, and their new collective effort is hoping to do the trick. Drive Hard (of course) is about a race car driver turned driving instructor (Jane) who gets coerced into robbing a bank by a friendly gunman (Cusack). As is wont to happen, all kinds of gunplay and vehicular hijinks ensue. Check out the first trailer below.
No bullshit, I love the hell out of this trailer. There looks to feature just enough comedy spread amid the action, and both Cusack and Jane have shown themselves to be good at the funny stuff in the past. If the chemistry on display between them in the trailer continues throughout the movie I’ll be a happy man. Jane actually came close to starring in a buddy/action movie after being cast opposite Sylvester Stallone in Bullet to the Head, but he was dropped when producer Joel Silver decided they needed someone more ethnic and replaced him with Sung Kang. Jane explains it best in this interview with Collider.
Well, Joel Silver came onboard the project and said that he has a quote-unquote ‘formula’ for these quote-unquote ‘buddy movies’ and it has to be a white guy and a quote-unquote ‘ethnic guy.’ And they relieved me of duty and basically paid me off, which I was really upset about, you know? I didn’t get a call from Stallone. I was a little upset about that. Maybe they didn’t want anybody on the movie with a bigger dick than him.”
So you can see why he’s not a bigger star, but can’t you also see why he should be?
The creatively-titled Drive Hard is written by Chad Law and Evan Law (no relation) (just kidding of course they’re related), and sees them graduating from a string of forgettable direct to DVD action flicks starring Cuba Gooding Jr. It appears to be set in Trenchard-Smith’s homeland of Australia which also bodes well for the vehicular carnage on display.
I would love to catch this in theaters and sincerely hope it plays on the big screen somewhere, but the unfortunate odds are it will go straight to VOD and DVD. Which means it will be mostly unseen and quickly forgotten, and it will fail to rejuvenate any of their careers. And now I’m depressed. Here’s the film’s official poster from Voltage Pictures.