Netflix is actively trying to corner the market on nostalgia. Many of their original films and shows are actively set between the 1950s-1980s (The Crown, Narcos, The Get Down, Stranger Things); even their Marvel shows all look like they were birthed during the era of Taxi Driver and Serpico. It’s also becoming more and more apparent that Netflix wants to corner the market on mid-budget action and crime too.
Crime-thriller genre fans — particularly those who grew-up watching Bronson, Eastwood, and Pacino — haven’t had much to get excited about in recent years. These days, Hollywood is much more interested in big-budget, CG spectacles than small-to-mid-budgeted, gritty cops and robbers films.
Fortunately, Netflix’s latest original film, Wheelman, looks and feels like a total throwback to every 70s action film built around fast cars and gun-toting mafiosa-looking bad guys, such as Bullitt or The French Connection.
Wheelman stars Frank Grillo (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Grey), as another morally ambiguous anti-hero, a part he appears born to play. Though Wheelman is set in current day, the only obvious contemporary conceits are mobile phones; everything else is pure, unadulterated analog — right down to the old school RPM and speedometer gauges in Grillo’s car.
This is a film about bad people doing bad things; lots of shootings and beatings and chases abound. In this trailer everyone appears to be trying to kill everyone else, near as I can tell. Grillo is obviously the film’s sole protagonist, as he’s the only character with a family and clear set of criminal guidelines — both liabilities in this film’s criminal underworld.
The trailer is jam-packed with wall-to-wall action, and (thankfully) it doesn’t give away too much of the story. Essentially, Wheelman is about a getaway driver (Grillo), either knows or saw something that he shouldn’t, and is being pursued by those he knows or has seen do something they shouldn’t, which probably includes every character in this film not played by Grillo or Caitlin Carmichael, who plays his daughter, Katie.
If your cinematic guilty-pleasure includes fast cars, violent felons, and lots of profanity (with a New York accent), then Wheelman might be for you. If you’re simply a fan of terse, taut, and fast-paced crime-thrillers, Wheelman has you covered too. This is just the kind of mindless, fun Saturday-night-on-the-couch experiences Netflix was built to deliver, and hopefully they’re prioritizing more in the future. Genre fans should be excited about this one, movies like Wheelman just aren’t getting made much anymore.
A getaway driver for a bank robbery realizes he has been double crossed and races to find out who betrayed him.
Wheelman is a Netflix original film starring Frank Grillo, Caitlin Carmichael, and Garret Dillahunt. Written and directed by Jeremy Rush, produced by Joe Carnahan, Anders Erden, and Frank Grillo. Music is composed by Brooke and Will Blair.
Wheelman hits Netflix on October 20, 2017.
SOURCE: Dark Horizons