Ben Collins: Stunt Driver
DVD, 71 minutes
© 2015, Distributed by Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Australia

Having formerly served as The Stig on the iconic Top Gear series, Ben Collins has to be considered one of the world’s leading authorities on what makes a good, quick car.

Post-Top Gear, he went on to become a leading stunt driver, lending his skills to a number of action epics that included James Bond: Spectre, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, The Dark Knight Rises and Fast & Furious 6.

Hollywood producers and directors, therefore, rely on his skills to identify the necessary characteristics of the perfect stunt car needed for the action sequence in question.

Often this comes down to getting a balance between factors that are sometimes in conflict. A car with great straight-line speed could be rubbish at cornering; while the model with great handling characteristics might not have enough ground clearance for rough terrain. Will the car need to have enough bodywork to protect the driver and mechanicals from a rocket attack? Is the trunk large enough to hold the rocket launcher that the action hero will need to fire at their opponents?

Those are just some of the questions Collins finds himself asking in Ben Collins: Stunt Driver, an often humorous, occasionally cheesy but ultimately insightful look into the work of finding the perfect stunt car.

In this DVD, Collins is given the task of finding such a car to use in an escape and chase scene from a fictitious nuclear weapons facility. The stunt needs a car that can handle on- and off-road terrain, while being quick enough to escape attacks from the ground and the air.

Collins progressively takes the viewer through the major selection criteria, and shows how the selection process is ultimately the art of compromise.

A number of high-octane machines are put through their paces, including a NASCAR racer, a Ford Mustang, the beautiful McLaren 650S and Noble M600 supercars, as well as a Jaguar F-Type, BMW M3 and a rallycross-spec Mini. He also learns some of the finer skills of drifting in a bid to improve his cornering skills.

Initially, it’s a little odd to see an un-helmeted Collins as the front man, but he’s clearly a great on-screen talent worthy of the role of a front line presenter. A couple of the sequences – virtually all being with the fictitious producer/director – are definitely on the hokey side, but on balance this is a well-produced and shot first effort from the former ‘tame racing driver’.

Ben Collins: Stunt Driver is now available at major DVD retailers. Our review copy was kindly provided to us by Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Australia.

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Geoff Burke

Journalist at MotorsportM8
Site co-founder. Social Media guru. All-round trouble-maker.