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Watch Clive Owen play tug of war with a helicopter in Neill Blomkamp’s BMW short

I’m a huge fan of Neill Blomkamp’s films: District 9, Elysium, and Chappie, and I was eagerly awaiting his take on the Alien franchise before it got delayed. Now, he’s partnered up with BMW to helm The Escape, a new entry in the company’s The Hire series of short action films, which just hit the web today.

The film opens with a short intro explaining that a genetics company called Molecular Genetics has been experimenting with human clones. As the FBI closes in, the security contractors tasked with taking one of the clones away mounts an escape, hiring The Driver to whisk away Five (played by Dakota Fanning). The head of the mercenary group, the Punisher himself, Jon Bernthal, hops in the side passenger seat, and the convoy makes its escape. Bullets are exchanged, cars are chased, and there’s even a game of tug-of-war with a helicopter.

The Hire is a series of short promotional films that first aired in 2001, and which starred Clive Owen as The Driver, a mysterious guy who drives a BMW and gets into car chases. The films feel as though they’re a sort of spiritual cousin of the Jason Statham Transporter films, and they’re seriously good fun. By taking up the camera, Blomkamp has joined a group of notable directors that includes Ang Lee, Guy Ritchie, John Woo, Tony Scott, Alejandro González Iñárritu and others. It’s been a decade and a half since BMW aired the series, and The Escape is the first of a third ‘season’ of these short films.

I love Blomkamp’s films: I’m probably the only person to have seen Elysium a bunch of times in theaters. The Hire series has never really drifted into science fiction before now, but The Escape feels solidly like it could be an abbreviated version of a much longer one of his films.

Blomkamp’s films might not be beloved by all science fiction fans, but he does know how to cut together a fun action sequence with quick edits and handheld camera movement. You can almost forget that this is a glorified commercial.


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