Director: Michael Dowse
Cast: Dave Bautista, Kumail Nanjiani, Iko Uwais, Natalie Morales, Betty Gilpin, Jimmy Tatro, Mira Sorvino, Karen Gillan
Runtime: 1 hr 33 mins
Rating: M18 (Brief Nudity & Some Violence)
Released By: Walt Disney
Opening Day: 8 August 2019
Synopsis: When a mild-mannered Uber driver named Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) picks up a passenger (Dave Bautista) who turns out to be a cop hot on the trail of a brutal killer, he's thrust into a harrowing ordeal where he desperately tries to hold onto his wits, his life and his five-star rating.
Stuber can’t make up its mind to be an ultra-violent action flick or simply a buddy comedy. In the end, it’s a scattershot and formulaic outing for wrestler-turned-actor Dave Bautista and upcoming comedian Kumail Nanjiani.
The action comedy starts with a rousing, violent prologue which starts with an old school LAPD cop, Vic (Bautista) and his rookie partner (played by his Guardian of the Galaxy’s co-star Karen Gillian) trying to bust a drug deal involving a notorious drug lord, Oka Tedjo (Iko Uwais from The Raid). Expectedly, things doesn’t go as planned and Vic ended up failing to capture Tedjo and also losing his partner.
Months later, Vic received a lead on Tedjo but given his poor eyesight due to a laser eye surgery, Vic hops on a Uber driven by Stu (Nanjiani), a mild-mannered part-time worker at a sports store. Together, Vic and the unwilling Stu must navigate through various sleazy locations and shootouts before they can locate where’s Vic’s number one enemy.
If you thought the movie has something smart to say about the ride hailing app, think again. The best thing about Stuber is definitely the pair up of its two leads. Bautista is always likeable in his own unique ways and Nanjiani is often funny despite the lacklustre scripting and dialogue. Still, both men manage to create some chemistry out of the dumb, razor thin plot which honestly is linked up together by a couple of action setups and a twist which you will spot a mile away. It’s so dumb that our two leading men have to had a screaming match midway into the movie.
The poorly written story even tries to wring out some laughs out of Stu’s secret crush on his BFF, Betty. With a joke about his casual sex session with Betty becomes repetitive and annoying, the movie moves clumsily to Vic’s estranged daughter, Nicole only to have her saving the day for no reason other than she received a weird hug from another character.
And because of the involvement of Iko Uwais, the prologue has an impressive action sequence which Uwais can probably deliver with his eyes closed. If you are hiring Uwais for an action flick, the best thing the filmmakers could do is to choreograph a bigger stunt spectacle for the finale but it seems everyone is satisfied seeing Uwais doing some half-baked kicking moves and running around.
Also joining the affair is Mira Sorvino if anyone can still recall her from Mimic, The Replacement Killers and Mighty Aphrodite. It is likely you won’t remember Sorvino’s character or the supposedly funny scene set in a male stripper club as the movie is packed with enough loud gunfights to numb your senses to make your admission ticket worthwhile.
Stuber runs at an economical duration of 93 minutes. With most of the gags falling flat, it’s simply not as funny as what the trailer has projected. The action on the other hand can be bloody but Bautista and Nanjiani deserve some credit for at least making the entire movie watchable. Iko Uwais is wasted in a disposable role and Stuber ends up being as forgettable as your next Uber ride.
(It’s not going to deserve a 5 star rating for sure)
Review by Linus Tee