Clive Owen as the Driver for BMW Films

Clive Owen returns for more BMW Films

Back in 2001 and 2002, BMW Films created eight short films with eight different high-end directors and starring Clive Owen as the mysterious Driver. Basically, it played like an audition reel for Owen as James Bond. Which is what should have happened. But I digress.

Now Owen is back as the driver, with another set of directors lined up to guide him through the mean streets. First up is Neill Blomkamp’s “The Escape.” Catch the trailer below the fold.

“The Escape” trailer starring Clive Owen

Backstory on the BMW Films Series

The original series, besides the Bond homage, played like the “Golgo 13” animated series. None of the episodes connect in an overarching story. Instead, they’re little vignettes of the Driver’s jobs.

Like the trailer here, the shorts had a variety of actors backing up Owen. Hell, even James Brown, Marilyn Manson, Don Cheadle, Gary Oldman and Madonna (at the time director Guy Ritchie’s wife) got in on the fun.

The films were sleek, sexy and fast-moving — coincidentally just like a BMW automobile. Which is probably what the company was going for. Product placement controlled by the product’s manufacturer. To hell with Eon Productions; we can do this ourselves!

But when you have directors like John Woo, Ritchie, pre-“The Revenant” Alejandro González Iñárritu, Tony Scott and others, you forget you’re watching a ten-minute advert.

Unfortunately, BMW removed all the original films from their website and ended the series due to the high costs. Which I can understand. Look at that list of talent, the stunts, the locations… indie filmmakers would kill to have that kind of access!

Luckily, you can still find the videos on YouTube thanks to some valiant hoarders like “GimmeCarPorn.” I’ve compiled them under the “Shadowdance Saga YouTube page as a playlist. Well worth the watch.

“The Escape” premieres online at on October 23rd.

Hopefully, Blomkamp will give us something more “District 9” than his latter two films, setting him up for a triumphant return to form with his next feature (“Alien 5” with Ripley, Newt and Hicks? Crosses fingers).

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