Americans love movies that feature cars driven at high speeds. To this day, the car chase from "Bullitt" (1968) stands as the standard fast driving scene. Toss in a crime getaway and Americans are in hog heaven. "The Driver" (1978) and "Drive" (2011) are perfect examples of the excitement a film that focuses on the getaway driver more than the crime.


I'm sure this was on the mind of British director Edgar Wright when he took on developing his latest film, "Baby Driver". He surrounded his boyish looking star, Ansel Elgort, with a cast of seasoned veterans and a rocking soundtrack that helps stir the excitement of action. It's "Top Gun" for getaway drivers.


It is all quite improbable, very much unbelievable but very comprehensible and fast paced. Plopping Kevin Spacey between over-the-top performances by Jamie Foxx and John Hamm works to a tee to overcome the miscast of Elgort.

Elgort is Baby, a former car booster who got caught stealing the car of crime boss Doc (Spacey). To atone for his deed, Doc puts Baby to work driving the getaway cars of various robberies planned by Doc. Doc gives Baby a very small portion of the take but leaves Baby still indebted.


The first getaway opens the film with Baby performing all kinds of stunts in the car, causing chasing police cars to tumble and crash in spectacular fashion. Baby gets his cut, stashes the money in the floor of his old disabled guardian's (CJ Jones) apartment then goes on to the next job.


His next heist gets a little more complicated when a new crew is assembled with the very violent Bats (Foxx) leading the team. Bats is an amped-up nut job with a hair trigger temper and attached to a gun. He is not impressed with Baby in the least bit, but Doc assures him that Baby is just fine. Another heist, another getaway and another payoff. But this time Bats doesn't like the way thing went a whacks one of the crew, leaving them short for the next job. And there will be a next job for Baby, because he cannot refuse Doc.

The good thing about the film is that Wright never takes his foot off the accelerator. Even the slower scenes are helped out with the revved up soundtrack that is playing in Baby's ear; he suffers from a sort of post traumatic stress that started after his mother was killed in a car crash. I'm quite sure somebody will find him cool, but Elgort actually misses the Steve McQueen/Ryan Gosling-like cool demeanor.


It is the third act - the third heist - when Bats, Buddy (Hamm) and Doc pump up the film a bit more and both help and nearly destroy the film. After Buddy's girlfriend Darling (Eiza Gonzalez) gets killed he goes over-the-top with Bats creating a frenetic final act. The tension is almost quashed by the preposterous indestructible man that Hamm's Buddy character becomes. Um....


There is one laugh out loud scene when there is confusion as to what kind of mask to purchase for a heist; that may go down as one of the funniest scenes of the year, but other attempts at humor are lame.


Kevin Spacey is, as always, rock solid as a villainous boss-man. Foxx and Hamm bounce off each other fairly well until it becomes ridiculous. Gonzalez and Jones are merely caricatures. Elgort doesn't fit the role, though he tries hard to.


"Baby Driver" is a non-stop adrenaline rush with a fairly stupid storyline, a poorly cast central figure, but tons of speed and stunts to make you pay little attention to the improbability.   -- GEOFF BURTON