Pirelli has a new action-short-movie-viral up called Mission Zero, featuring Uma Thurman (via). Sadly, it sucks balls and Uma can’t save it. You might remember that this trend for car makers began when BMW made The Hire: they gave several famous producers Clive Owen (who’s a great actor and should have more leading roles) and a BMW, telling them to make a short movie. Some of these are Ronin-quality car chase scenes which you absolutely must see. If you haven’t seen them before, check out Star (directed by Guy Ritchie, featuring Madonna) and Ambush (directed by John Frankenheimer). If you like those, check out Chosen, Ticker, Hostage and Beat the Devil (featuring James Brown!). There’s two more, but they suck.
What made these work? They’re mini-movies, with a proper plot and some spectacular car footage. The editing is wonderful and the feeling is just right: you want to drive a BMW and do this shit after watching these.
Nissan followed it not much later with The Run. It’s a Getaway in Stockholm styled street racing video of a 350Z racing through Prague. Problem? It doesn’t look good, takes too long and it doesn’t have any plot. Why am I going to watch 8 minutes of shoddy footage of a Nissan driving around a city? The Getaway series was entertaining because it involved actual street racers, people doing stupid illegal things just to prove that they could without getting arrested by the police. That’s a plot. This was a legal shoot. That’s no plot.
Pirelli followed up by making The Call (The Hire, The Run, The Call… I’m sensing some major inspiration here). It featured Naomi Campbell and John Malkovich but that couldn’t save this flick from being horribly overwrought. Basically Malkovich is a priest exorcising a possessed car (Naomi plays the demon), ultimately succeeding by fitting it with Pirelli tires. Because *cough* ‘power is nothing without control’. Honestly. The plot idea was nice, but that ending just killed it. Basically you have a cool car doing cool stuff – which is why you are spending those minutes watching the flick! – but when they use the manufacturer’s product, it stops doing that. That’s not good marketing. Think about it.
And now we’re back to Pirelli doing a movie about Uma Thurman in a Lambo on Pirellis, getting chased by people with guns who want to kill her for no apparent reason. In the last scene it turns out there is a point to it all, but by then we’ve already stopped caring. Most apparent is the complete and utter boringness of the action sequences. Lambo drives around. Lambo gets shot at. More cars arrive. They too shoot at the Lambo. The Lambo gets hit a lot. Nothing actually happens. There is no climax at all. And the one thing that’s going through my mind during the entire flick is: If those P-Zeros are so good and they’re mounted on a Lambor-fucking-ghini Gallardo… Why the hell isn’t she just pulling away from the greasemonkeys at 250km/h?
Get your head around it, car makers. You can spend lots of money on these branded content movies. But in the end, it has to be an entertaining show on its own – that just happens to make your product look good too. If you can’t do that, just give up. Don’t torture us with another 10 minute reel of boring-ass car footage.