Sonic Youth wrote: I guess this is the movie I was expecting "Drive" to be, full of action and movement instead of hallucinatory torpor. But for me "Baby Driver" is too far at the other end of the spectrum.
Not to say I'm fully in sync with you on your overall opinion of the film, but I had a similar wish for something halfway between this film and Drive. Drive fans no doubt view Baby Driver as a rose-colored variation on Refn's -- there are a lot of plot similarities -- but I'd counter that at least Baby Driver didn't descend into the violent ugliness of Drive. My imagined compromise would land somewhere in Asphalt Jungle-ish territory...maybe the next director to take on this genre will hit that sweet spot. (And you're quite right, that this basic template has been used an unfathomably large number of times.)
For the first 15 minutes -- with my most sustained previous exposure to Wright having been Scott Pilgrim -- I was thinking, man, this director really loves to show off: choreographed credits and all. But at least that gave me something novel. The remainder of the film just ticked off the cliches: good kid drawn into crime against his will; starry-eyed romance with sweet young thing; gang of crooks including one totally loose cannon who sends everything to shit (and why, given that Spacey specifically said he never used the same crew twice, why was there not a word of explanation when he suddenly brought everyone back?); the botched final job; the villain who won't stay dead.
And yet...I was never bored, and kind of enjoyed the kinetic energy of the thing. It's clearly a work of talent, though one unrelated to any sort of movies I'd actually crave to see. (I'm reminded of Pauline Kael's remark about Taylor Hackford in Officer and a Gentleman days -- that, if she had a corpse she wanted revived, she'd call him first thing, but she wouldn't trust him with a live piece of material.) But it's summertime, and tasty crumbs are to be savored, to pass the time until the more satisfying meals of autumn come along. So I guess I'd call this worth seeing.