Ambush (2001) Poster


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More adrenaline pumping than "The Fast and the Furious".
Boba_Fett113816 April 2005
Although the movie is just a few minutes short, it still is more adrenaline pumping than as for instance "The Fast and the Furious".

The movie is a great beginning of "The Hire" series! The car chase is well directed by John Frankenheimer who already showed with the movie "Ronin" how well he can direct scene's like that. The story is written by Andrew Kevin Walker ("Se7en", "Sleepy Hollow"), produced by David Fincher (director of "Se7en", "The Game", "Panic Room", "Fight Club") and the cinematography is from action specialist Newton Thomas Sigel. So there was lots of talent involved in making this short film and that is really notable. You can clearly see it had been made with lots of profession.

Clive Owen is perfect as The Driver. For some reason he is boring but cool at the same time. I most certainly wouldn't had mind seeing him be the new James Bond but it looks like that honor is going to someone else for the moment. The passenger is played by Tomas Milian who is best known for his role in "Traffic" and some smaller roles in "Amistad" and "JFK".

A very nice short with some excellent action in the car chase!

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A brilliant short.
Before the review, a brief plot summary: The Driver, a chauffeur-for-hire, now has a new customer in his BMW: a mysterious old man from Cuba. As they drive, however, a van pulls up next to them, a gun sticks out, and it's drivers contact The Driver. His passenger is carrying a suitcase full of two million dollars in uncut diamonds, and they want The Driver to pull up and let the man out so they can have his suitcase. When the pleading man explains that he swallowed the diamonds, and that they will cut him open to get it, The Driver realises he can't let these criminals get a hold of his cargo, and a car chase ensues.

This short, which is really a commercial for BMW and the first in the "The Hire" series, is one of the most brilliant shorts ever. Directed by John Frankenheimer (of "Reindeer Games" and "Ronin") this ad has some of the best car stunts you can find on film. The acting is great, Clive Owen is a pleasure. "Gone in Sixty Seconds" can barely match this one. The climax is great, the suspense and tension build up quickly, and The Driver remains as mysterious as ever.

It even promotes safety! The BMW is powerful, and can outrun a van full of crooks, but always buckle your seat belt. Your kids will like it, there's no langauage or such, it's mostly just a lot of fun watching The Driver show the true power of the BMW.

Watch this film, as well as it's sequels, "The Hire" series. It's worth downloading, although I am blessed with a modem that downlands FAST. I pity those of you who must wait, but believe me, it's worth it!
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A very smart marketing maneuver
Decrypt37 October 2004
The BMW Films series are not supposed to be cinematic masterpieces. They are intended to have car chases that involve BMWs going really fast and doing really cool tricks. This film delivers that in plenty.

Clive Owen is perfect as the deadpan, unflappable Driver. He gives the impression that nothing can get him upset, not even getting his 7-Series (not a cheap car at all) all riddled with bullets and smashed up.

Tomas Milian, the diamond-smuggling Passenger, is also excellent in his role. His fear and nervousness contrasts perfectly with the Driver's relentless calm.

As with all the BMW Films, you're not supposed to worry about the plot. The car chase comes first. The plot is built around the chase, not the other way around. That's the important thing to remember. Just enjoy the chase and wish you had a 7-Series.
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How did BMW get John Frankenheimer to do this?!?
MartinHafer12 April 2010
In 2000 and 2001, BMW commissioned a series of 8 films directed by world-famous directors like Ang Lee, John Woo and, in this one, the great John Frankenheimer. Frankenheimer was a brilliant director responsible for such great films as "The Manchurian Candidate" (the original, mind you) and "Seconds" (perhaps the most underrated film of the 1960s) and he was 71 when the film was made...and NOT a man who needed work. Yet, somehow, the folks at BMW convinced him to make this odd little film featuring one of their cars AND Clive Owen--something in common with all the films of this "for hire" series.

This particular short is almost like a chase scene from a James Bond film--but perhaps even more spectacular! It begins with Owen driving a rather dull-looking middle-aged man somewhere...and the van is suddenly attacked by ski mask-wearing thugs with machine guns! Using only the most brilliant driving skills on the planet is Owen able to battle wits with these unnamed baddies. Frankly, it was brilliantly directed and kept my heart pumping--and I'm not even one who usually likes action film! Exceptionally well done and fascinating despite having practically nothing more to the plot!
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BMW: Great Cars, Great Commercials
charlietuna19 November 2001
Leave it to BMW to create a promotional DVD of shorts ("The Hire")featuring their cars. The directors list is stunning: Frankenheimer, Ang Lee, Wong Kar-Wai, Guy Ritchie, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. The range of the shorts go from the giddy (Ritchie) to the vainglorious (Inarritu), yet all are entertaining. From a strictly commercial sense, the efforts put forth by Frankenheimer and Ritchie present the best balance of entertainment and product endorsement. Basic plot, great stunt drivers, fast paced sound track, tongue in cheek humor. Perhaps a better representation of advertising, than great short films, "Ambush" et al were first made available over the Internet through BMW Frankenheimer will soon resurrect "The Exorcist" saga with fellow short film writer/actor William Wisher. One can't help but to think that this little short was a safe promotional boost after the highly disappointing "Reindeer Games". All in all, not a bad way to spend fifteen minutes.
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Not bad
TheRetardedVacuum10 December 2013
This is the first in a series of eight BMW films called The Hire. This one isn't bad. The entire short is basically one car chase. But the reason for the chase is interesting, and there's just enough action to bring it to above average status. Plus I like Clive Owen, so that's a plus.

Bottom Line: Short and sweet, maybe not great but worth a watch.

There really isn't much more to say but IMDb wants me to fill up 10 lines, so I'm writing this sentence in hopes of filling it up, okay I'm done.

6.5 out of 10, rounded up to a 7 for IMDb
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Diamonds are the passenger's best friend
Warning: Spoilers
This is another one from the BMW series of short action films starring Clive Owen as the mysterious Driver. It's one of the last directorial effort from John Frankenheimer and was written like a couple of the others by Andrew Kevin Walker, the creative force behind the movie Se7en.

The Driver escorts a foreigner when he gets stopped and at gunpoint asked to hand over the diamonds the passenger is carrying. The Driver is not willing to risk his life for the diamonds and tells him to do so, but the stranger convinces Owen's character that it's not possible as he swallowed them, so the only option is drive as fast as you can. And that's what the Driver does best. A meaty car-chase follows, which wasn't bad, but I preferred the thriller aspect before and the closing scene with the two in the end, which made me smile as well. I haven't seen too much from Tomas Milian, but this here was enough to convince me he's a pretty good actor. Well done and definitely a contender for my favorite from the BMW promo short films.
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Enjoyable chase sequence serving as commercial
bob the moo25 April 2012
I remember seeing a very short version of this film when it was adapted to be an "event" commercial on UK television. If I recall correctly there was a bit of a fuss back then about a "film" being made to sell a car as the approach by BMW making shorts to be able to make commercials was unusual. Skip forward a decade or so to a time when we generally are more aware of advertising and it seems refreshingly honest of BMW to make a film for this purpose rather than the product placement of car companies frantically bidding to have their newest model being driven by the hero in the upcoming summer blockbuster. So the fact that this short film was made primarily to sell me on the idea of buying a BMW was no problem for me.

What Ambush does is essentially give us a very contained chase sequence that gives tension while also showing the car going through its paces. There is little story beyond Owen is a professional driver who has to evade a heavily armed hijacking while on the move. The chase is well directed and delivers lots of squealing tyres and movement from the two cars and there is a genuine sense of pace and danger to it, despite having no vested interest in the scenario or the characters. Owen is coolly enigmatic of course (this was before he was the bankable star he is today) but the real star is the car and the work of the stunt drivers, as it is here that the film works.

It may well be a commercial for a car I can't afford, but at least it is honest in that goal while delivering an engaging and exciting little chase sequence; some blockbusters out there could stand to learn these qualities from this short.
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"Adrenaline crash, I crack my head."
BroadswordCallinDannyBoy6 October 2008
I didn't really know what to expect from this short film. It's an ad for a popular car brand and I have seen plenty of those. However, this one is a pleasant surprise - it's a car chase! And a break neck adrenaline fueled one at that. Complete with a skilled driver, a passenger and machine-gun totting villains wrecking hell on a highway late at night. Not the most probable scenario and definitely not one that BMW customers would like to get into, but this isn't really an ad as much as product placement in an action film, only this action film is a brisk 6 minutes. Knowing movie magic any car could do this, but the sleek design of the BMW fits very well with the fast pace of this film (and the others int he series) as well as Clive Owen's mysterious coolness as the Driver. So even if this is just an ad from the point of view of BMW's marketing division, it is a very creative one that film makers have turned into something that is slightly more for we the audience. --- 8/10
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A decent introduction to an addicting online series of films.
Batkid13 November 2007
This basically sums up the film in general, but I will elaborate.

The Plot: Clive Owen ( before he was in "The Bourne Identity," "King Arthur," "Elisabeth: The Golden Age," and "Sin CIty" ) plays a "hire" who drives people places they desperately need to go.

Often times, they are working for something "top secret" and can only give our protagonist limited information.

Also, this is meant to show off the BMW car and is executive-produced by Tony Scott ( Crimson Tide, Spy Game ), Ridley Scott ( Alien, Kingdom of Heaven ) and David Fincher ( Panic Room, Alien 3 ).

In this episode directed by the late John Frankenheimer, our hero has to transport a con who has something his mob friends want.
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Good Solid Opener
HypnoticEye4 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
chulo376 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!
lomanhall2 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
bradeeoh22 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
toedte25 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?
poogus20 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.
refugeez19 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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rbverhoef24 May 2003
The Driver has a passenger who carries diamonds for 2 million dollars. Armed men in a van want him to stop but of course that is not going to happen. A nice chase seen follows. Directed by a great director, John Frankenheimer, this short story looks pretty cool.
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Very entertaining action-filled commercial
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews3 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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Gas Pedal
Angry_Arguer8 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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Excellent film in the series. Bested only by The Star
rstreno15 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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