Ignition is checkpoint driving at its most challenging. The aim is not to complete a stage in the fastest possible time, but rather to hit each of the director’s marks in the most spectacular fashion. The challenge stems from following on-screen indicators to the scene of the next stunt. There’s barely a split second to set yourself up for each new cue, so the margin for error is tiny.
Here we go again, we thought, after swearing silently at the seemingly impossible task of weaving through the dense city traffic in pursuit of a battered saloon being driven by a couple of suspects - or rather, a couple of fellow stuntmen pretending to be suspects. The stack of crates we were supposed to decimate as we gunned down a backalley, were only slightly dented. The dramatic, tire-smoking, 180-degree spin we were instructed to pull off ended up being an embarrassing 70-degree kangaroo hop. And when it came to the stage’s showpiece, a death-defying leap from the edge of a dock onto a container ship, well, let’s just say it wasn’t especially defiant. All a bit reminiscent of the shambolic first game.
It all takes place over the course of Overdrive, a movie you’re filming which takes its cues from any movie to feature a preposterously overblown car chase. You know the sort of thing: it usually results in the maverick cop involved being told in no uncertain terms that the mayor wants his badge for the six-figure amount of damage he caused. The city is based closely on San Francisco, which means there are plenty of steep streets and tight corners to negotiate, all teeming with people and traffic. It’s the perfect setting for automotive annihilation.