If GTA is a bloody steak, this is tofu. For a game of a Vin Diesel movie about car chases, deadly shootouts and criminal gangs, Wheelman is bizarrely inoffensive. Its overly broad European streets pose almost no threat and little in the way of challenge. It’s fast but even the superbikes are hard to crash, while cars are like pinballs, popping and bursting through whatever they meet like meteorites through paper. In truth it’s kind of fun, though we drove the most frantic missions while sipping coffee. It’s bloodless, sunny and simple.
In a further bizarre twist, Wheelman has no interest in how wheels behave. Chases are more about physics-denying special moves than skill, and they only get more spectacular on bikes. If you fancy shooting pursuers while going backwards at 100mph on one wheel, stealing a car without slowing down or shunting your entire vehicle ten feet to the side at will, The Wheelman is your game.
You’ll be further pleased to note that many such antics slow time itself. Vin Diesel’s muscle mass has clearly become so great he’s collapsed to form a giant hole from which nothing, not even acting, can escape. He is warping space-time. Out of the car, the exploding barrel-based shooting is poor enough to be hateful, but there’s nothing to arouse such strong emotions while in it. So, if you truly demand the undemanding, Wheelman is here to make you look sort of quite good in a silly but po-faced way. Unleash the polite applause!
Apr 29, 2009