Stuber manages what should seem impossible. It has Iko Uwais, one of the most amazing action stars today, going head to head with Dave Bautista, a brick wall of a man. These two are extremely capable of delivering a killer fight sequence given that Uwais was in The Raid films and Bautista's fight scene in Blade Runner 2049 is a knockout. And yet the whole thing is botched thanks to shaky camera work and editing that actively seems to be trying to hide the action.
Stuber is an action comedy whose action scenes are terrible. Director Michael Dowse seems to have no sense for how to construct them. The good news is that he is better at comedy. He lets comedian Kumail Nanjiani riff often, mostly at the expense of Bautista, and the result is just enough laughs to make the film watchable.
Nanjiani plays Stu, an Uber driver who get wrapped up in a world of violence when a police detective (Bautista) uses his ride service to hunt down a heroin dealer who murdered his partner. It is an outlandish premise but one that brings to mind the comedy action hybrids of the 90s.
Stuber rests upon the odd-couple dynamic of its leads. The two stars clearly like each other and are having fun together and some of that translates into laughs. The best moments come from Nanjiani reacting to the bloody violence around him or poking fun at Bautista's macho qualities. The story however is weak, never giving us much to get involved in. The villain is without any personality or presence for much of the film, robbing the audience of any satisfaction with the final act. The motivations of its characters are paper thin. Bautista wants to avenge his partner and Nanjiani wants to get a good rating from his Uber passenger. These motivations never involve the audience in a meaningful way so when there aren't laughs on screen, the film falls completely flat. Things aren't helped by the weak action directing.
Overall, I wouldn't be upset if I caught the film on a plane or on cable some Sunday afternoon but that is about it. The laughs aren't particularly memorable but I did chuckle throughout even if the plot never engaged.