Welcome back to Throwback Thursday, one of my favourite days of the week, a close second place behind ‘it’s fuck this shit o’clock’ on a Friday afternoon. The reason I love Throwback Thursday so much is because it gives me the chance to re-live some of the great memories I have of my early experiences watching movies, tv shows and reading the comics that have helped to shape the grown-up geek I am today.
If you have been following us, you’ll notice that we are both of, shall we say, ‘ a certain age’. This means that whenever I finger to keyboard to share some of my stories, they often refer to time some of you may not remember and things that you may not have had the opportunity to experience yourselves. My hope is that i’m able to pique your interests enough to get you to investigate said movie or tv show for yourselves. With today’s offering, I truly hope those of you who haven’t seen the film go and check it out. It’s a sci-fi/martial arts mash up that deserves to live another life as a cult hit.
‘Drive’ is one of those movies that could slip by you very easily if you didn’t have any prior knowledge of it. Not to be confused with the 2011 Thriller starring Ryan Gosling, ‘Drive’ is an a pulse pounding thrill ride of a flick that encapsulates all that was great about the action movies of the mid to late 90’s. Great action set pieces, tongue in cheek humour, a plot so far out that you need copious amounts of marijuana to over look the gaping holes, a soundtrack that both baffles and uplifts, slick direction, and a cast that were clearly having fun.
Starring Marc Dacascos, Kadeem Hardison and late, great Brittany Murphy and directed with panache by Steve Wang, the movie is light, bright, exciting and most importantly, lots of fun.
The film was released in the UK in 1998 on DVD. It never received a cinematic release which actually worked in the films favour as it became a ‘word of mouth’ hit. I stumbled across the movie thanks to Richard, who had seen it on television on channel 5, who at the time had a deal in place with film distributors to show a whole catalogue of direct to DVD films on their channel. DVD technology was in it’s early stages at that point, meaning the prohibitive cost of discs put a lot of people off buying movies on that format, especially when VHS was still readily available and a lot cheaper. Richard told me I had to watch the movie and as my family had just purchased a new Sony DVD player for the front room, it felt like the perfect film to test out the new bit of kit, especially as the UK DVD release featured the director’s original cut. It didn’t take me long to track the film down at HMV in Oxford Street (R.I.P), and for a fairly reasonable price. As usual, once I got home, I had to wait for the rest of my family to bugger off to bed before I could get down to watching, but it was completely worth the wait.
Marc Dacascos played a character called ‘Toby Wong’ a kind of living hard drive that is on the run from gangsters and the communists in the US. After a thrilling opening fight sequence, Toby meets a down on his luck musician named Malik Brody (Kadeem Hardison) whom he then forces to drive him to Los Angeles. Along the way, they encounter motel owner Deliverance (Brittany Murphy) who joins them on their road trip and whilst they attempt to outrun an eccentric hitman and his partner. That’s literally all there is to the plot, but to be honest, that’s all you need to know. The film is so fast paced that everything races by you in a blur of fist, kicks, gunshots and car chases. But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing memorable about the film, far from it in fact. The 1st thing that stands out is the incredible fight scene choreography from none other than Koichi Sakamoto. If that name rings a bell with you geeks out there, it should. This is the man who gave us the epic fight scenes from the ‘Power Rangers’ TV show. Dacascos is a brilliant action star and martial artist and he brings considerable flair, emotion and humour to his encounters. In one particularly scene, Dacascos takes out the bad guys with boots strapped to his hands. It really is a treat and worth watching the movie just for this scene, but there’s also a very funny script by director Steve Wang and Scott Phillips which happily plays up the more absurd elements of the story for laughs but still manages to keep you interested in the characters. Kadeem Hardison brings some heart and soul to his character in a way that other movies of this type would have simply dismissed as the ‘sidekick’, whilst Brittany Murphy is brilliantly bonkers as the free-spirited Deliverance. The final battle between Toby and the upgraded model of his type played by Masaya Kato is sensational in it’s rhythm and pacing and worthy of a place on any top 10 fight scenes list.
‘Drive’ is a movie that has gained some popularity over the years and being a fan of the film makes you feel like you are part of a special club that only a few are privileged to know about, so dear readers, I extend the invitation to join the club to you. If you have never seen the film before, I urge you to track it down. If you are a long time fan, welcome home friend! Pull up a chair, i’ll roll a big one for old time’s sake and we can all enjoy the ride together.
You can find out more about the movie here;
Well, that’s all from me for now, if you remember the movie, why not share your thoughts in the comments below?
Until next week, stay safe, have fun and if in doubt think “ What would Toby Wong do?”