Starring: Yaya Abdul Mateen, Jake Gyllenhaal, Eiza Gonzalez, Garrett Dillahunt, Jackson White, and Keir O’Donnell.
Directed By: Michael Bay
Where I Watched it: Peacock
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
Description provided By: Media Access Group
Narrated By: Andrew Thatcher
The Plot: An army veteran (Mateen) who is trying to get his wife medical care is finding that the system built for those who have served this country is insufficient and he can’t get his insurance to help his wife. Unable to pay for her life saving surgery, he turns to his brother (Gyllenhaal), a less than reputable man who just so happens to be planning a bank robbery that day, and needs a driver. The things our veterans have to do just for some damn medical care, am i right?
What Works: So, Michael Bay clearly wants you to pay more attention to our veterans. We have let them down. As far as the film goes, Mateen is terrific, and Gonzalez is also great. Gyllenhaal has played variations on this role before, so he’s also good too. Really, the three leads of this film are the reason I enjoyed it.
We’ll talk more about some of this section down in The Blind Perspective.
What Doesn’t Work: For me, I remember looking at the time and noting how much more was left and being mind boggled. This film goes on forever, but it somehow does actually fill that time with mostly entertaining stuff. The big problem the film has, at least from my perspective, is that it has TOO MANY DAMN CHARACTERS. There is just an asinine level of supporting cast in this, that we all have to be introduced to for some fucking reason. This film should have been a no-brainer. Four people in an ambulance, trying to evade police.
We do NOT need to be introduced to every single fucking police officer, gang member, doctor, and whatever the hell this film has going on. There are so many people in a film that could have been made during the pandemic with eight people on a shoestring budget. I know Michael Bay doesn’t even use shoestrings. But, the amount of side characters in this is exhausting.
First, this film expects us to believe that the other people in the crew who are not well known actors, and are not shown in the previews as being inside the titular vehicle have much to offer to the plot. One of them never even gets a name. He’s just referred to as the bald one. Then, everyone has a partner. The cop inside the ambulance has a partner, the paramedic has a partner. Gyllenhaal has all these people he works with, and some guy that keeps bringing flamingos up. Then we have a rival gang. And aside from random cops, we’ve got our main guy in the mobile unit, and his sassy female sidekick. Then, they pick up another guy from a higher office who takes over.
If reading that didn’t exhaust you, you’re a stronger person than me. too many damn people in this movie. Also, the third act is knowingly telegraphed, so it wasn’t surprising in the least.
The Blind Perspective: I’ve seen and heard audience feedback on this. I know this is the film where Michael Bay figured out what a drone is, and just went nuts. None of that made it into our audio description. none of his insane camera shots, flying a drone around, under vehicles, through crashes, down buildings. I head this film was insane in IMAX. I like some cheesy and entertaining Michael Bay. I know what to expect from him, and he delivered.
So in many ways, I think because the audio description strips away the drone shots, we got a more coherent final project being blind on this one. usually it doesn’t work in our favor, but this is one of those rare exceptions where the general public did not respond well to the visual aesthetics, and we can just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Final Thoughts: I enjoyed this film more than a lot of people, I’m sure. If Michael Bay had paired down the cast into less named characters, and more just randomly disposable people, and focused on just the Ambulance, this would have been a better film. Every time we cut away to someone not inside the Ambulance, I hated it.
Final Grade: B