Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
Drive (1996)
A-Pix Home Video | Review by Dan Taylor

Drive starring Kadeem Hardison and Mark DascascosWading through the video shelves has actually become more fun in recent months.

1998's crap, er, crop of blockbusters did nothing to rejuvenate my interest in the Hollywood machine, so I voted with my dollars and stayed away. In fact, my theatre going was relegated to the odd arthouse flick, THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, and a drive-in twin bill. Other than that it’s been strictly video.

While there are times what looked good in the store stinks up your whole house something fierce, you do get the odd diamond in the rough, like DRIVE. And believe me, the odds of a Kadeem Hardison-Mark Dascascos buddy flick making me this happy were pretty slim.

The setup’s pretty straightforward, mixing elements of THE DEFIANT ONES, THE CHASE, Jet Lei's BLACK MASK and every Saturday afternoon fu-flick into a satisfying, low-brain-power stew. Dascascos — who stars as Eric Draven in the syndicated THE CROW — is a Red Army soldier with a bio-engineered chip in his body that gives him unique bio-fu skills, and a company in LA will pay a couple mill for the implant. Hardison co-stars as the pesky sidekick — a songwriter who lost his wife and kid to another guy, and end up going along for the ride, and a potential payday.

From that simple premise comes 90 minutes of old-school-kung-fu-flick wire stunts (the end battle in a rocket-ship-themed bar is a doozy), outrageous 1 vs. 15 fights (proving that chainsaws do make great anti-handgun devices), and a scene-stealing turn from 'King of the Hill's Brittany Murphy (who’s a dead ringer for Monica Lewinsky).

A highly-entertaining straight-to-video entry that never wears out its welcome.

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