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Go inside cutting-edge tech of Michael Bay's thriller 'Ambulance' with new behind-the-scenes footage
Co-starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Ambulance drives into theaters Friday, April 8.
For the first time in half a decade, Michael Bay returns to the big screen with his latest contribution to the high-octane action movie genre: Ambulance (opening in theaters April 8). A remake of the 2005 Danish film of the same name, the project centers around a pair of bank-robbing brothers (Prisoners' Jake Gyllenhaal and Watchmen's Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) who get in way over their heads when a by-the-numbers heist goes terribly wrong.
Forced to flee, the criminals hijack a nearby ambulance and lead the cops on a merry chase throughout Los Angeles. That premise alone would be enough for a solid, adrenaline-pumping trip to your local theater. But wait! There's more! The medical vehicle the brothers are now driving has an injured police officer in the back and the robbers must keep him alive — working alongside the EMT they've taken hostage (Godzilla vs. Kong's Eiza González) — if they want to have any hope of surviving the ordeal.
Again, the set-up is rock solid. No need to go the extra mile, right? Wrong! Hoping to take audiences on the thrill ride of their lives, Bay and his team utilized innovative drone technology capable of bagging angles you just can't get with traditional cameras. The tech is known as FPV ("First Person View") and requires the drone operator to wear a VR headset that allows them to see whatever the flying camera sees. Very cool, but probably not the best gig for individuals plagued by vertigo and acrophobia.
See how the team pulled it off in the behind-the-scenes featurette below:
"Michael Bay is the consummate action director of his time," producer Bradley Fischer remarks in another making-of video (see below). "He has a very specific stylistic approach to the way that he tells stories."
The filmmaker's desire to place viewers into the very thick of the action stems from his love of the heist genre. "We all fantasize about being criminals potentially. What would it be like if you were bad somehow and could you get away with?" Bay states in a Universal Studios interview conducted for the film. "You always say, 'Could I ever get away with a bank robbery? Oh, I can outrun these or I can be sneaky enough to do this.' But most of the time, you can't. The world's too sophisticated nowadays, the police are too sophisticated. There are a lot of sophisticated criminals, but because a heist movie is immediate and it's happening right now and it can get screwed up very quickly and go in the wrong direction...one bad decision can just escalate and that's what's interesting about it."
To keep his actors' energy high during principal photography, Bay made sure that shooting days didn't run too long. "You're consistently trying to keep the tension going, which means you don't want to spread it across a day so long ... you want to try and keep it compact," he explains during the interview. "It's hard for them to keep their adrenaline up. You [don't] let them go back to their trailers to wait to set up new shots, you try to keep them on set and try to get through the scene, so that they can keep that tension. Otherwise, you can see that it's not the same when you go later and later in the day. It's literally like a boxer going in a ring. You can't have a boxer boxing all day. You gotta kind of use him for windows when you can really build him up."
Ambulance drives into theaters Friday, April 8.
Universal Pictures & SYFY WIRE are both owned by NBCUniversal.