Monday, February 1, 2010

Adrenaline Drive

Here's an interesting case, Adrenaline Drive is an Action-Comedy, with a distinct lack of Action and Comedy. It is in fact the kind of movie that makes you appreciate a good director all the more, because you can see what it was meant to be in its bones, but the man in charge - Shinobu Yaguchi - just screws it all up.

Once upon a time, there was a young man named Suzuki (Masunobu Ando). He runs around in a passive aggressive relationship with his boss, whose name I can't find. His boss trying to make him angry leads to him running into a Jaguar owned by a Yakuza. This leads to him going to a Yakuza headquarters and a wacky gas explosion that kills all but him and a strangely immortal Yakuza boss, whose name I can also not find because the IMDB entry for this movie is really bad. When in an ambulance to the hospital, he meets attractive nurse Shizuko (Hikari Ishida), and they decide to run off with the Yakuza money. This leads to a theoretically madcap romp through Japan, as the Yakuza is hot on their trail and they need to get through some sexual tension in the meantime.

This is perhaps not a work of art, but on paper it could be a funny, and fun to watch film. Some of the scenes would likely be very strong on the page, and there are more than a few amusing little moments. The dialog might even be good, though the DVD I watched was riddled with typos and glaring mistakes so I might not be the best judge of that. The way that several different factions collide in the fight for the missing money at the end has been done many times, but that's because it often works. This should be a highly enjoyable romp that doesn't take itself very seriously, a decent popcorn movie for a night out.

Yet it's very boring, what happened?

It's all in the direction, or maybe it's the lack of it. Such rudimentary things as moving the camera once in a while, doing more than medium length shots from a static position or really anything to augment the action is not done. Prime opportunities for slapstick are wasted, visual jokes that were clearly written into the script land with a thud, and everyone underplays like they haven't actually seen the stage directions. It takes a script that could be fun, has some great opportunity for action, and a lot of potential and rushes through it like an indifferent high school student doing a report. So much potential fun, so little done with it.

If someone who knew what they were doing decided to tackle a remake, I'd watch it. It could be an opportunity for someone to make a really enjoyable action-comedy. But, it isn't because this time the director just didn't make the effort that the script needed to work. It's a shame really, because in another universe, someone could have a really good time with this.

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