Film review: Stuber: 5 Stars Undercover

The 1980s and 90s were undoubtedly the height of action films. In addition to the powerful hitters of the caliber Rambo as well as Predator in the 80s, there was also the highly well-known subgenre …

The 1980s and 90s were undoubtedly the height of action films. In addition to the powerful hitters of the caliber Rambo as well as Predator in the 80s, there was also the highly well-known subgenre called buddy films, where two or more different characters are thrust into a stressful situation and can handle it with plenty of wit and brawling regardless or due to their differing characteristics. The recently released Stuber Five Stars Undercover, which is not widely advertised in the United States, attempts to revive the subgenre.


A hard-boiled and angry police officer Vic Manning has been trying to capture the ruthless drug dealer Tedjo for many years. Not only does he have lots of dirt on him, but he also has a former lover on his back. Any hope of catching this criminal is gone when his boss informs his boss that the FBI is responsible for this case in the future. He has a day off to get his eyes shaved as he’s not the youngest, and his goal is to be more successful.

The surgery is not even done; Vic receives an email from an informant who offers him an excellent opportunity to stop Tedjo in a transfer. Unfortunately, the offer will be announced on the same evening, and Vic is utterly blind over the following 12-24 hours. Because he’s unable to take a taxi, he unceremoniously takes an Uber as it’s important not to pass up this opportunity. So he gets to meet Stu, arguably the pickiest and most peaceful, the exhausted Uber driver of the city. His primary goal is to maintain his 5-star rating no matter the price.

(c) (c) 2019 Twentieth Century Fox


It’s difficult to understand why these films aren’t in theaters. It’s true that somebody is trying to revive this genre every couple of years, but the most remarkable success has thus been elusive. This could be because of the inconsistent film quality. However, even the thinly sprinkled films, like extravagant ones like the Nice Guys from 2016, were largely ignored by the vast majority of viewers. The insecurity of the studios producing them on their projects is not a minor aspect. Despite huge names in the actors, they don’t allow these films to be hung on the big marketing bell. This is also the case in the present situation since Stuber receives in the country with no marketing.

Did it deserve it? As the film doesn’t have to hide behind its immensely successful predecessors. The story won’t pull anyone away from the stove since it’s not more than the basic setup structure that is only meant to bring the two main characters together and allow them to go through some crazy events. However, it doesn’t need to just so long as it can deliver a 90-minute sequence of engaging dialogs, action, and conflict (which naturally resolve in the end). It does that admirably, thanks to the minor subplots and characters that assist in spreading the focus slightly. The base concept of “no-bullshit cop meets boring Uber driver” by itself would likely be overused in the second part at the latest.

(c) (c) 2019 Twentieth Century Fox

While it may seem obvious, the comedy derived from this set-up prevents the film from narrowly missing the mark and becoming frustrating. The reason is more to the characters. They’re too drawn to be genuinely likable. At the same time, one is pursuing his dream without regard for his surroundings, while the other is the perfect example of the mother’s protector and covers every cliché from order freak to friendzone. The humor of it all is executed surprisingly effectively, even though all jokes are successful and even need a deep dive into the mothballs that are fun to look at.

The characters that save them that, in the end, will make you in love with them are more than their actors. The ever-present Dave Bautista and the newcomer Kumail Nanjiani create an equal chemistry one would never imagine would be possible. They are the two actors that carry the film. If there were an underperforming cast in the principal roles, the film would, as we’ve said could, quickly descend into the unaffordable. Some familiar faces exist among the other cast members, like Mira Sorvino or Karen Gillan. In all, there’s nothing to fault with the ensemble.

The technical aspect of Stuber looks a little old-fashioned. It’s not a film that can go beyond the standard cuts and shots. However, there aren’t any big flaws in these scenes. Suppose you ignore the often very rushed cut-scenes. The action and animation are extremely effective. Similar can be said of the score. The soundtrack never really is a prominent feature, and then it comes back now and then through thoughtfully selected songs that are noticeable.

(c) (c) Twentieth Century Fox


While Stuber Five Stars undercover definitely won’t be an instant classic, it deserves to be given a bit more interest. Because, despite the outrageous characters and the numerous clichés the film uses, it’s still a lot of entertainment. It owes that to its two leading actors, particularly those who were raised with body movies that were popular in the latter half of the century, and a feeling of nostalgia. However, all those who are enticed with sloppy, non-at any time serious action should take a peek without hesitation.

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