If you’re looking for an entertaining action movie with cool fights and science fiction elements, you’ve just found it! Released straight to video back in 1997, Drive is a highly underrated movie with lots of great fights, shootouts, and chases. Do not let the straight-to-video thing dissuade you from watching it because the production values are excellent. Something that will be demonstrated during the opening fight scene at the huge ship. We will be following Wong, a martial arts expert, and Malik, an aspiring poet, as they try to get to Los Angeles alive and make a deal of a lifetime.
If this sounds a bit familiar, it’s because just one year later Rush Hour took the theaters around the world by storm. It also stars a martial arts expert and a cool black guy who have to work together. Moving on, what makes Drive work are the insanely good fight scenes. They reminded me of Jackie Chan movies because the characters use the environment as their ally. There’s a loose tire here, let me kick it and knock out a bad guy. If I throw this chair at this guy, it will give me enough time to get to the kitchen. And when I get to the kitchen they’ll be in a lot of trouble.
The only thing I didn’t like about Drive is its silliness. Sure, it’s better to be silly and not to take yourself too seriously but not to the point of completely destroying all tension. Luckily, the action and relentless pacing help with that along with a few other things. As this is a classic buddy action movie of the nineties you can count on a lot of humor and jokes. And don’t forget that this is also a science fiction movie featuring enhanced humans, evil corporations, and loads of other things.
Toby Wong just got to San Francisco from Hong Kong and he’s already in a lot of trouble. There’s a whole army out to get him but they cannot shoot him. You see, Toby has a special device inside his body, a bio-engine that makes him stronger and faster than an average human. He ends up in a local bar where he takes Malik hostage. And so the journey to Los Angeles to sell the bio-engine begins.
Before we go any further, I have to say that this movie stole my idea for a bar. The finale takes place in this huge space-themed bar and it looks exactly like the one I wanted to make. The cast of Drive was excellent. I’ve never heard of Kadeem Hardison and I don’t know why. He’s very charismatic, funny, and good-looking on top of it all. A smooth playa.
Mark Dacascos on the other hand demonstrated superb physical attributes and he can act too. He even sings a song towards the end of the movie! Too bad he ended up in the B-movie realm but he fucking claimed it with authority. John Pyper-Ferguson was a great and memorable bad guy, just what the movie needed.
We will also get a chance to see young Brittany Murphy playing the ditzy motel owner who has the hots for our homeboy Kadeem. Overall, Drive is a fun movie that all action and martial arts fans will appreciate. Drenched in a nineties vibe it offers a solid hit of nostalgia and a pretty cool soundtrack. And while its story is eerily reminiscent of Universal Soldier it still holds up after all this time.
Director: Steve Wang
Writer: Scott Phillips
Cast: Mark Dacascos, Kadeem Hardison, John Pyper-Ferguson, Brittany Murphy, Tracey Walter
Fun Facts: The directors cut of the movie is 17 minutes longer than the original. It offers more character development and longer fight scenes.