Web Video / The Hire
A Web Video
series produced by BMW in 2001, 2002, and 2016, 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 usually 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
The web series contain the following 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
- Genre Shift: Each film reflects the sensibilities of its director. The series has gone from high-octane action to slapstick comedy to moody character piece with The Driver and BMW being the only unifying theme.
- 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.
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.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
- Seer: How did the boy know the Driver would require a bandaid?
- Spot the Imposter: Monks don't wear cowboy boots.
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.
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 KegHarvey Jacobs
- Actor Allusion: The Star, a world-famous and highly talented musician, played by Madonna.
- Adam Westing
- Amusing Injuries: The worst that the Star suffers is some smeared makeup and an embarrassing coffee spill, despite being turned into a human pinball inside a speeding car and being ejected from the vehicle hard enough to fly ten feet before hitting the ground.
- An Aesop: Always wear your seatbelt, lest your underling hire a professional driver to humiliate you via his reckless driving. Also, something about not being such a Bad Boss, but it was far too late for the Star to learn that one.
- Asshole Victim: The Star.
- Bad Boss: Oh dear lord the Star. Verbally abusive of pretty much everyone who works for her.
- Batman Gambit: The entire plan seems to hinge on the Star deciding on the spur of the moment to get in the white car instead of the black one. Of course, the black one might have simply had Jason Statham driving.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: The Star insists that the Driver drive faster. At least he asked her to put on her seatbelt first.
- Bitch Alert
- Bring My Brown Pants: When the Star gets dumped at the feet of a horde of paparazzi, she's got an embarrassing stain around her crotch. Implied to be a result of her spilled coffee, but that's Not What It Looks Like.
- Casting Gag: Madonna was married to director Guy Ritchie at the time.
- Chekhov's Gun: The Star's coffee. Piping hot.
- Curse Cut Short: The Driver explains to the Fourth Wall that the Star, in addition to her many qualities, is a "complete c--" "GLEEENNN!
- Extreme Doormat: Glen, the Star's manager. The Driver points out that Glen has no spine, but then, he gets paid enough not to have one.
- The Dog Bites Back: It is heavily implied that this was the exact reason the Star's manager called in the Driver.
- Don't Call Me "Sir": The Star irately tells the Driver not to "ma'am" her, presumably suspecting (correctly) that he was sassing her. Once he abandons all pretenses of being subservient to her, he proceeds to call her "Sir" instead.
- Drives Like Crazy: Oh dear lord the Driver. The Star really should have put on her seatbelt when he asked.
- Groupie Brigade: They drive past a bunch of screaming fans as they exit the parking garage, and the Star ducks out of the way expertly to avoid being seen by them.
- Icy Blue Eyes
"The first thing you notice physically about this lady, are her eyes. Bright blue eyes. It's rare to actually see them because they're usually covered up
but when you do...it's worth it."
- I Shall Taunt You: At one point, the Driver pulls up alongside the bodyguards and winks at them before speeding off.
- Large Ham: The Driver is obviously enjoying this job so much.
- The Star is basically playing a hammy Jerkass version of herself.
- Must Have Caffeine: "Coffee! I want a coffee!"
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Oddly enough, up until the last bit, the description given for the Star could be a description of Madonna, who plays the Star.
- Nominal Importance: Glen, the agent who hired the Driver, is one of only a handful of named characters in the entire series.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: The Driver claims first not to know he was hired to drive for the Star, then that he doesn't know where they are going, and then makes a point of driving infuriatingly slow to get under her skin.
- Paparazzi: The Driver, at the end of the drive, deposits the Star right in front of the gathered photographers, complete with a large stain on her pants from the coffee that she had in her lap at the start.
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: Generally speaking, driving recklessly and intentionally causing your passenger to be sent bouncing off the interior of the car because she is not wearing your seatbelt is generally considered a bad thing. But it is just so hard to remember that, considering what a Jerk Ass the Star is.
- Public Service Announcement: A titlecard at the end reminds you to buckle your seatbelt.
- Reality Ensues: Played for Laughs. There's a good reason you should wear your seatbelt in a car.
- Slo-Mo Big Air: Complete with the soundtrack changing abruptly to Ride of the Valkyries; the face the Driver makes has to be seen to be believed.
- Stop and Go: The music abruptly stops when the Driver backs the car into an alley... then as soon as they see the bodyguards drive by in their car, he takes off again with the music kicking back on.
- Unreliable Voiceover: The Driver describes in detail that the Star has gorgeous blue eyes, strong, feminine hands, and a billion dollar voice. Meanwhile, we see her adjust her sunglasses, then a close-up on her gloved hands cleaning said sunglasses, then a closeup on her mouth as she opens it... to cough.
- You, Get Me Coffee: The Star's first line is to scream at her assistant for a cup of coffee.
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. Hostage
The Driver 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. 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.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 host 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
Molecular Genetics, a research lab, has been conducting illegal cloning experiments. With authorities closing in, MolGen security forces hire The Driver to transport the head of security and a young woman who is referred to only as "Five" and "the Specimen", though she calls herself Lily. Surrounded by a group of heavily armed men and being chased by the FBI and local police, The Driver decides to take matters into his own hands and conclude the situation how he sees fit.