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Web Video: The Hire
A Web Video series produced by BMW in 2001 and 2002, starring Clive Owen. Essentially, this is a Genre Anthology where each episode only has two recurring features: The Driver, and a series of BMW automobiles. Each episode featured a different director and guest star, and usualy a different model of car. Not to mention vastly different moods; the films range from being intense and dramatic to being comic slapstick.

The videos inspired the movie The Transporter.
Relevant tropes:

All Episodes
  • All-Star Cast: Both in front of the camera and behind it.
  • Badass Driver: The main character, played by Clive Owen.
  • Chase Scene: Most of the episodes feature some variation of this.
  • Cool Car: But of course. In the first season, he gets a new car for every episode (possibly because the car gets utterly trashed during the ensuing Chase Scene in every episode except for The Follow. He keeps the same (new) car for the entire second season.
  • Depending on the Director: The tone, style, and even genre of each episode varies wildly, due to each episode having a different director.
  • Everybody Calls Him Barkeep: The Driver
  • Guile Hero: When sheer driving badassitude won't cut it, the Driver will resort to a variety of unorthodox tricks to get the better of his opponents.
  • Mood Whiplash: The two comedy entries, Star and Beat the Devil, can be a bit jarring, considering that they come after The Follow and Ticker, respectively. For bonus points, Star is immediately followed by Powder Keg.
  • Mysterious Past: The Driver receives very little in the way of Backstory, indeed, he doesn't even have a name. We pick up bits and pieces about him in dialogue.
  • Product Placement: Well, yeah, the whole series was sponsored by BMW, after all.
  • Rule of Cool: This is the driving factor behind most of what happens in the films. The producers had to actually disable some of the features on the cars they were showing off to make the driving stunts look more impressive. For example, the cars featured are all designed to not to do hairpin turns or skids because that's dangerous.

Ambush

The Driver must protect his passenger from a van full of heavily armed jewel thieves, who want the diamonds that his passenger is smuggling. One problem: The Passenger swallowed the diamonds to get them through Customs, and these men will not hesitate to cut him open to get at them. Directed by John Frankenheimer, guest-starring Tomas Milian as the Passenger.

  • Car Fu: in addition to the usual sideswiping and trading of paint with the van, the Driver later intentionally forces other cars on the road to to spin out or swerve out of the way to create obstacles for his persuers.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: After the first round of being shot at by the jewel thieves:
    Driver: Are you still alive?
    Passenger: Yeah. *buckling his seatbelt*
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: The bad guys talk to the Driver through his Car Radio. They had to show him their walkie talkie and use hand signals to tell him what frequency to tune to, however.
  • Gun Accessories: The robbers have torches mounted on a Desert Eagle pistol and a light machine gun. Justified as it's nighttime and they need to see into a dark interior.
  • Just Keep Driving: Averted. Bystander vehicles swerve out of the way or slam on the brakes to try and avoid the Driver and the van full of jewel thieves.
  • MacGuffin Escort Mission
  • Malevolent Masked Men
  • Mineral MacGuffin: Smuggled diamonds, which the Driver's passenger swallowed to get past Customs. At least, that's what he claimed.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: "Buckle up."
  • Ram by Braking: How the Driver disables his pursuers' headlights.
  • Road Block: At the entrance to the road construction site.
  • Treasure Chest Cavity
  • Van in Black
  • Wronski Feint: The Driver plows through the road block after smashing the headlights of the other vehicle, and then leads them on a chase weaving through the equipment until the bad guys blindly crash into a bulldozer and explode.

Chosen

The Driver meets a boat at the pier and picks up his passenger, a young Asian boy who is considered very important by the monks entrusting him to the Driver. He must evade a group of armed men trying to capture or kill the boy, and get him to the safe house where the monks can protect him. Directed by Ang Lee, guest starring Mason Lee as the Passenger.

  • Big Damn Heroes
  • Bound and Gagged: The monks at the safehouse.
  • Car Fu: In the alleyway between the containers on the dock.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The gift the Driver receives from the boy, which the Driver is not to open until later. It's a bandage for his ear, which gets nicked by a bullet later in the film.
  • The Chosen One: The boy.
  • Facial Dialogue: The boy silently signalling to the Driver that the man they are addressing is not really a monk.
  • Oh Crap: A gunman leaning out his door to shoot at The Driver gives off a good one when he realizes that they are about to be rammed.
  • MacGuffin Escort Mission
  • The President's Daughter: The boy that the Driver must protect.
  • Seer: How did the boy know the Driver would require a bandaid?
  • Spot the Imposter: Monks don't wear cowboy boots.

The Follow

The Driver is hired by a paranoid movie star's agent to follow the star's wife, who the star suspects is having an affair behind his back. Though hesitant, the Driver agrees to the mission, and explains via narration how to tail someone, all while he learns more about the young wife. Directed by Kar Wai Wong, guest starring Mickey Rourke as the Husband, Adriana Lima as the Wife, and Forest Whitaker in an uncredited role as the Husband's agent.

  • Back Story: One of the rare bits of it for The Driver. He mentions that he is not married anymore, but no explanation is given as to why (divorce, widow, etc.), nor any details about his wife.
  • Domestic Abuser: The movie star who asks the Driver to tail his wife, as the Driver learns while following the wife.
  • Gilligan Cut: A dramatic variation. As the Driver watches the wife from afar at the airport café, he narrates, "Whatever you do, don't get too close." One quick nighttime establishing shot later, he's sitting right next to her.
  • Incredibly Obvious Tail: It does seem odd that the wife does not notice the same black BMW right behind her the whole way to the airport, but this is somewhat acknowledged and explained away in the narration, which explains that you keep moving around, changing lanes from time to time, getting a bit closer, a bit farther, moving into their blindspot if you end up too close behind them, and most of all that the best way to avoid detection is to know their patterns, so you can predict what they will do next.
    • And also averted shortly later. Once they leave the city and get out on the highway, he drops much farther back because he can still see her car in the distance.
  • In Love with the Mark: According to the narration, this should be avoided at all costs. Do not get too emotionally attached, or try to relate to the person you are tailing, no matter how sympathetic they are. Of course, he utterly fails at this step.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Was not included in most versions of the DVD collection, and it was removed from the website. Rumor has it that this was due to contract issues with guest star Forest Whitaker.
  • Keep the Reward: Once he learns more about the woman he has been hired to tail, the Driver returns the money, claiming that she got away from him.
  • Mr. Exposition: This is one of the only episodes to have the Driver narrating, and the only one where he narrates through the entire film, explaining how tailing someone works.
  • Oh Crap: Averted, and the narration goes on to explain that you should never react at all if the person you are tailing doubles back and sees you. As soon as the wife turns around and looks at him, the Driver casually looks up at the Departures board at the airport.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: The movie star is heavily implied to be a male version of this trope. We get to see his fast-talking agent on the phone trying to get him a role in another film, insisting that he's at the top of his game, and evidently having a hard time convincing the guy on the other end of this.
  • Your Cheating Heart: The movie star thinks his wife is having an affair.

Star

The Driver has been hired to provide transportation for The Star, a massively talented, extremely famous, and intensely abusive singer. As they depart for the venue, the Driver receives a call from the Star's manager, Glen, who reminds him to take his time, and to give the Star everything the Manager has paid him for. The Driver proceeds to take the Star down a few notches as he speeds across the city. Directed by Guy Ritchie, guest starring Madonna.

Powder Keg

Harvey Jacobs has just taken the most important photographs of his career, but is wounded in the process. The American government hires The Driver to go in and extract him, bringing him and his pictures out of Nuevo Colon so that the government's crimes will be brought to light. Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, guest-starring Stellan Skarsgård as Harvey Jacobs, and Lois Smith as Harvey's mother.

  • Armies Are Evil
  • Banana Republic: Nuevo Colon.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The villains' actions are revealed, and Harvey Jacobs wins the Pulitzer Prize for his work posthumously.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The dogtags.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: Averted. The Driver knows they are in trouble when the guards don't care one whit that he is working for the American Embassy.
  • I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin
  • Heroic Sacrifice
  • Intrepid Reporter: Harvey Jacobs.
  • I Regret Nothing: Averted. Harvey regrets that he didn't take time to play with his kids.
    Driver: So how many have you got?
    Harvey: None.
  • Just A Flesh Wound: Jacobs is shot by a solder after photographing the mass execution, but is still able to make his escape. He succumbs to his wounds during the escape.
  • Kick the Dog: The first thing we see the local soldiers do? Shoot a bunch of civilians.
  • MacGuffin: The film.
  • Nominal Importance: Harvey Jacobs is one of only two or three characters to get named at all in the series. His actions appear to have a much bigger impact than almost anyone else's in the films as well.
  • Road Block: The soldiers at the roadblock are not impressed with the Driver's American Embassy credentials. When one of them tries to shoot him, he manages to deflect the gun, resulting in the other soldier being shot and giving him a chance to go off the road and cross the border that way.
  • Run for the Border
  • Technology Marches On: A scant few years after this film was made, Harvey probably would have been able to email his photos from a safehouse without having to smuggle the film across the border.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Jacobs antagonizes a border guard by taking photos of him. Justified in that he was dying of blood loss, and probably delirious.
  • Title Drop: The Driver asks Harvey what is on his film, and he is told that the film contains the Powder Keg, the story about what is going on in Nuevo Colon.

Hostage

The Driver arrives arrives at a small house carrying a Briefcase Full of Money in order to pay the ransom for a CEO who has been kidnapped and hidden away by a deranged former employee. When the hostage taker proceeds to shoot himself to avoid arrest, the Driver must rely on the handful of clues he was given to locate and rescue the kidnapped woman. Directed by John Woo, guest starring Maury Chaykin as The Kidnapper, and Kathryn Morris as Linda Delacroix.

  • Asshole Victim: The ending implies that the hostage is an amoral bitch and the hostage taker is someone she used for sex then dumped unceremoniously. She is visibly distraught when rescued but when she confronts the hostage taker in hospital, she smugly mocks him as if she can easily fake emotion.
  • Bad Boss: The hostage taker's justification for the whole thing.
  • Big Damn Heroes: One of the rare times that the Driver saves the day outside his car, jumping into the water and forcing the trunk door open to rescue the hostage.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: Turns out, the money isn't important, but the amount of it is. It's her phone number, so the Driver can contact her if he's clever enough.
  • Clean Pretty Reliable: A discretion cut keeps us from seeing the inevitable vomiting up water that comes from administering CPR to a near-drowning victim.
  • Driven to Suicide: The hostage taker, via Russian Roulette. He's later shown to have failed, and be in hospital.
  • Ironic Echo:
    I was always the butterfly, and you were always the moth.
  • Lemming Cops: The police think that the Driver is in a stolen car, based on his speeding through the city, and try to catch him, but they are nowhere near his level, and he has a woman to save.
  • Mission Control: A pair of FBI agents helping the Driver figure out where the hostage is trapped.
  • Police Are Useless: Though one imagines they could have been helpful if the FBI had thought to let them know what was going on.
  • Race Against the Clock: The Driver has to find the car in whose trunk the hostage is locked before high tide comes and drowns her.

Ticker

The Driver and his passenger must evade an attacking helicopter and get a mysterious package his passenger is carrying to its destination. The passenger refuses to explain what is in the briefcase, but insists that the case's safe arrival at the destination is more important than his life, and that an entire nation is at stake. Directed by Joe Carnahan, guest starring Don Cheadle as the Passenger.

  • Acrophobic Bird: Some bad guys in a helicopter trying (and largely failing) to gun down the Driver and the Passenger, leading to the chopper's eventual demise.
  • Ambiguously Evil: After the army starts attacking, the driver panics and thinks his passenger is carrying a weapon of mass destruction. Averted since it turns out he is carrying a heart for transplant and its the army that is evil.
  • Arc Words: "What is one man's life worth?"
  • Armies Are Evil: Most, if not all, of the soldiers seen in this episode seem to be working for the Evil Chancellor, who is trying to keep the MacGuffin from getting to its destination.
    • The red scarves and berets the soldiers wear appear to indicate they are Elite Mooks, presumably the Chancellor's Praetorian Guard as he wears the same uniform.
  • Bullet Sparks
  • Car Fu: Bad guys in an SUV ram the first vehicle that was carrying the MacGuffin.
  • Chained Heat: When it looks like the Driver might baulk at his mission, the man with the briefcase chains it to the Driver's wrist. "Now drive!"
  • Driving Question: What's in the case?
  • Evil Chancellor: Evidently the unnamed nation's president is the only man keeping the country's far less fettered military commander from seizing control. While he doesn't seem to be going for a Klingon Promotion, he has no problems sending his men to interefere with attempts to keep his boss from dying of natural causes.
  • A Handful for an Eye: The Driver does donuts in the dirt, kicking up a huge cloud of dust, which blinds the Acrophobic Bird, causing them to blunder into a nearby obstruction.
  • In Medias Res
  • I Was Never Here / Treachery Cover Up: As he's failed to stop the suitcase, the president's men tell the Evil Chancellor to back off.
    "You were not here. This never happened. Tell your men to stand down."
  • Literal Change of Heart
  • MacGuffin: The briefcase. If it is not delivered on time, with the contents intact, an entire nation will be at the mercy of a military dictator.
  • Mood Whiplash: Between the helicopter strafing scenes and flashbacks of the courier accepting the mission.
  • Pun-Based Title: The title refers to an unidentified but highly important package contained in a silver briefcase, which must be kept below a certain temperature lest something terrible happen. It sounds like it could be some kind of bomb, but it is actually a heart, ready for transplant.
  • Pursued Protagonist: The episode opens with the Driver and the Passenger weaving back and forth down the road while bad guys in a helicopter try to shoot them.
  • Race Against the Clock: With the car running out of fuel and the briefcase's temperature indicator rising, both due to bullet hits.
  • The Reveal: What's in the briefcase? A heart transplant for a troubled nation's dying leader.
  • Smoke Out
  • Spent Shells Shower: The film opens with spent shells and bullet impacts raining down on an apparently empty road, before quickly panning up to the strafing helicopter, then down to a car racing ahead of the gunfire.
  • Standard Hollywood Strafing Procedure: The gunner in the helicopter sprays the bullets back and forth across the road, yet the car always seems to just slip between the bursts.
  • Time for Plan B: The Driver is actually the backup plan, a second driver standing by in case something happens to the first driver.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: After his windshield is sprayed with fluid from the mysterious suitcase, the Driver is understandably alarmed; assuming it's a WMD he shouts, "IS IT CHEMICAL? IS IT BIOLOGICAL?" The scene then cuts to the courier apparently answering the same question, put to him by a bodyguard in the first vehicle he used.
    Courier: It's neither.
    Bodyguard: So what is it then?
    Courier: Salvation.
  • Vapor Trail: Seen as the car drives off after stopping momentarily on the bridge — the flames don't reach the fuel tank though.

Beat the Devil

The Driver has absolutely no idea what he has gotten himself into. He accompanies his client, James Brown, for a meeting in a penthouse apartment in Las Vegas, only to learn that their guest is evidently the lord of darkness, Satan himself. James Brown makes a wager with the Devil, a drag race down the Las Vegas strip at dawn, James Brown and his Driver versus Satan and his. If the Driver wins, James Brown gets his youth back, and if the Driver loses, Satan gets his soul. Directed by Tony Scott, guest starring Gary Oldman as the Devil, Danny Trejo as Bob, and James Brown As Himself.


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alternative title(s): The Hire
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