Minimum Overdrive

Minimum Overdrive
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Minimum Overdrive
France, 2004
De Liam Engle
Scénario : Liam Engle
Avec : Nicolas Capus, Liam Engle, Thierry Ramoin
Durée : 13m
Sortie : 31/12/2004
Note FilmDeCulte : ******

A miniature duel between man and machine…


This month's short film comes from France and is sure to be a huge hit on the web. Minimum Overdrive is a frenetically-paced, no-stop, all-go, never-ending chase between a man and… a toy car! The premise might sound absurd, and it sure is, but the way it's put together boggles the mind. Director Liam Engle manages to make us believe this ridiculous, 50cm-long plastic car is a real killer. The movie opens with a guard (Thierry Ramoin) in an empty parking lot stumbling on a "Wanted – Dead or Alive" poster featuring none other than the car itself. He quickly understands that the remote-controlled toy that's roaming the lot is indeed the killer… and the chase is on! With a running time of 13 minutes, Minimum Overdrive is a dense (some might say too dense), action-packed hunt that starts on foot before Ramoin manages to steal a New Beetle and bring the killer car out on the highway and into the desert!


Shot on a shoe-string budget over the course of dozens of weekends, Minimum Overdrive makes the most out of simple yet effective filmmaking tricks. A behind the scenes video (available here) shows the toy car being pulled by invisible fishing wire to make it seem fast and furious and the life-sized New Beetle getting replaced for a few shots by a 6 inch replica bought for 10€ at a toy store. "I don't feel we could have gotten anything better out of visual effects. I, personally, don't have the talent to do that kind of stuff, build a digital replica of the toy car or whatnot, so we just felt we had to go with live action bogus stunts!" says Engle. Practically no effects shots were needed and even the explosions caused by the car's missiles were done using firecrackers covered in flour.


Liam Engle's main influence when shooting Minimum Overdrive was none other than Michael Bay. The director of Armageddon and The Island, though he's sometimes capable of the worst, often comes close to perfection when directing car chases. "Thierry and I just watched the chases from The Rock and Bad Boys II over and over again", says Engle. Other influences at work in this little gem are of course Steven Spielberg's Duel but also the chases from Terminator 2 and 3, and a lesser known set piece, the car chase at the beginning of The Hidden. Engle: "I've always loved what Jack Sholder did with that scene and I think it's kind of underrated. So Jack Sholder, if you're listening…!" Minimum Overdrive has already won two prizes in short film festivals and is sure to become a nice little success on the web since it doesn't have a single line of dialog. Download it here.

par Yannick Vély

En savoir plus

Liam Engle acted in Daniel Brunet's action comedy Bud & Moovy which we mentioned a few months back.

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