There aren’t that many great car chases in movies any more. Even movies that are built around a car chase are generally either totally unrealistic (Fast & Furious) or just plain bad (Need For Speed).
In that light, the latest installment in BMW Films’ The Hire saga made for a refreshing change. With District 9 director Neill Blomkamp at the helm, The Escape tells a story of corporate corruption, loss, and redemption. It’s genuinely thrilling, and packs a real emotional punch. All within ten minutes.
But the main point, of course, is the automotive action. Of which there is plenty. At the center is the brand-new, 2017 BMW 540i. Clive Owen’s titular Driver gives it a stern workout as he tries to escape Jon Bernthal’s mercenary’s attempts to spirit Dakota Fanning’s Lily away to some awful fate. The car even brings down a helicopter.
It seems the not-inconsiderable amount of time and money expended on the film has been worth it. According to figures compiled by Adweek, it was the seventh most popular ad on Youtube during the month of October, racking up 2.5 million views in just nine days - beating a Trump campaign ad in the process. At the time of writing, the view count stands at 4,859,897. Yet more will have seen it on social media and the BMWFilms.com website, as well.
It’s likely a good-size chunk of The Escape’s views are repeat sittings. But even so, it will have been seen by a couple of million individuals at this point, not all of whom will necessarily be BMW enthusiasts. Whether or not those views translate to sales, though, is another matter.
The first installments in The Hire were released in 2001; a total of eight were made over the next two years. Between them, the films clocked more than 100 million views before the BMWFilms.com wesbite was closed.