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Good Solid Opener

8/10
Author: Stuart Casey from Canada
4 June 2003

John Frankenheimer was hired for this probably due the impressive car chases he filmed for RONIN rather than the last film he did the mediocre REINDEER GAMES. Fortunately he's in top form for this short film. In a mere 6 minutes we get an lean, mean vignette about how Clive Owen, as an unnamed driver-for-hire, does his best to escape from a van full of masked gunmen out to kidnap and kill the driver's passenger: a diamond smuggler who swallowed his precious cargo. While later films in the BMW series would get more ambitious in scope, it's AMBUSH that lays the groundwork for the later films to work from.

The film's style and approach to action is hard-edged, the actual car chase is exciting, and Clive Owen gives a sense of man who gets out of dangerous situations by a mixture of complete professionalism and ruthless self-interest. Only in later films do we begin to see a more human side to his character.

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Old-school action from the director of Ronin

10/10
Author: chulo37 from Seattle
6 December 2001

Everything that a short action film should be--a gut-wrenching chase sequence built around a well-balanced narrative structure and callous disregard for bystanders. More than just a promo for BMW, although it does make the car look pretty tough. Worth watching several times--it's only about five minutes long!

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Compressed Action!

10/10
Author: lomanhall from New York, NY
2 August 2001

Talk about getting maximum thrill in minimum time. John Frankenheimer has crossed into the realm of directing Web-Films with one hell of a good show. Although the acting has small flaws, the precision in directing the full content in such a small time frame really goes to show you how good he is.

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A great start to the "The Hire" series of short films

8/10
Author: Bradee-oh from California
22 July 2001

BMW had a great, unique idea when it hired 5 big Hollywood directors to make 5 short films showing off their cars. Ambush was a perfect start to the series - going in, you don't know what to expect but after this first short, you're hooked and you're looking forward to watching the next in the series.

Of all 5 of the movies, this one is the most basic. Very little to think about here - there's a powerful 7-series being driven down a dark road, and a van pulls up and "provokes" a short, adrenaline filled, unique, and effective car chase. Straight-up "show off the car", especially compared to the next 4 in the series, but also straight-up fun.

Watch this one - it's a fairly small download by today's standards - then watch the other 4 because a couple of them are even better.

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Not just marketing propaganda

9/10
Author: toedte
25 June 2001

Having seen the TV blurbs about BMWFilms, I wasn't sure what they actually were, but I suspected your usual product-centric infomercial...just webified. I have since seen all BMWFilms' offerings and can't wait for the next one. Ambush, staged on an urban freeway, features: The Driver; his "fare", a diamond courier; a terrorist-loaded van; and some of the finest high-performance and stunt driving I have ever seen. Without noting the director, I was immediately reminded of Frankenheimer's Ronin, not just because of the driving, but also the entire tone of the piece. The initial parrying between The Driver and The Terrorists is wonderfully choreographed and delivers both the precision of attack and defense, and the precision of the BMW machines used in the film (without coming across as pitchy). Once this jousting is over, they opposing forces engage in a high-tech, high-velocity, high-tension chess match ultimately won by The Driver. The intriguing ending leaves you wanting more. Seemlessley edited, highly believable, and mind-grabbing.

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Where did this come from?

9/10
Author: poogus from Long Island, USA
20 May 2001

What a cool little short! I happened to catch this on IFC one day and was blown away when I saw John Frankenheimer, Andrew Kevin Walker, and Clive Owen in the credits. The story is simple, a man carrying diamonds (presumably stolen) is being driven by Owen. Along the way, they are ambushed by a van full of terrorists who are after the diamonds. This being a Frankenheimer film, the chase that ensues is spectacular. Owen has got to be one of the coolest cats out there. He brings such a confidence to the screen that it's impossible not to feel awed in his presence. A very cool film, due mostly to Owen's super-cool persona. Note the little homage to "Marathon Man."

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BMW's first promitional short film featuring style, and SPEED.

9/10
Author: refugeez from Los Angeles, California
19 May 2001

As "The Driver" meticulously maneuvers his BMW 740i through the dead of night, a van suddenly pulls up next to him. A terrorist points a Desert Eagle .50 at the BMW and demands The Driver to pull over and hand over his cargo. His cargo, an elderly man smuggling diamonds. From then on, Ambush carries over into an exciting car chase scene. The finesse in which The Driver maneuvers his BMW 740i will make any NASCAR driver blush. With spectacular direction by John Frankenheimer, this short film is a must see.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Very entertaining action-filled commercial

8/10
Author: abgkasjlkasjla from Denmark
3 December 2004

First of all; for a commercial, this is great stuff! I don't think I've seen a commercial that was so thoroughly entertaining. You hardly even notice the product placement... which proves both that the commercial is so entertaining that you almost forget what you're watching and that the product placement is carefully done and the commercial is not just shoving a product in our face. I enjoyed it immensely... and I am not that big fan of car-chases. Actually, I mostly think they're tame and boring. But John Frankenheimer and Clive Owen really make it work... as director and actor, respectively. I haven't seen too many of Frankenheimer's films, but I enjoyed Ronin a fair bit... here, he truly proves how good he is(or was... R.I.P.) at directing action. I haven't seen too many films featuring Owen either... but here he does a great job, portraying the dead-pan, calm and collected unnamed driver. His character halfway made the commercial as great as it is. The action is great, very intense and exciting. The story, as little as there is, is quite good. Andrew Kevin Walker did a great job on the script. All in all, a great little action-packed commercial. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys action. Why can't all commercials be like this? 8/10

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Gas Pedal

Author: Angry_Arguer from Shermer, Illinois
8 November 2003

The Hire series should start changing some perspectives towards advertising. I've taken a profound interest in watching how each director manipulates the topic of BMW and Clive Owen with their own personal touches.

From the East we have Ang Lee, Kar Wai Wong, and John Woo. The dedicatedly Western Tony Scott and John Frankenheimer. The last group can be classified as the "new blood" with Alejandro Inarritu, Guy Ritchie, and Joe Carnahan. I can say that Frankenheimer takes the most pedestrian route with his work, his lack of cinematic prowess is displayed in the second half of the chase, but it still is the most powerful in creating a mood. The Eastern influence tries too hard to make poetic overtures in their collective work and, despite their respective differences, they're all the same.

So, Frankenheimer is solely in search of entertainment here. Not as good as Inarritu's, but more focused than Carnahan's.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Excellent film in the series. Bested only by The Star

Author: Rob Streno (rstreno) from Columbus OH
15 March 2002

Excellent film. All of the other posters have grabbed the essence well, so I won't dwell on it. The only nit-pick is that he's in a 740i, which does not come in a stick shift. Yet there are a number of scenes where the Driver is shown pushing in both brake and clutch. Well worth seeing, though.

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