Well, aside from the fact that I can’t figure out if the name is supposed to be serious (in which case it’s misleading) or a joke (in which case it’s as deadpan as the rest of the jokes in this film), I’d have to say I liked this movie. It’s dryly funny, clever and held my interest for it’s whole run.
It’s the story of Suzuki, a mild mannered rental car clerk who has the unfortunate distinction of bumping into a car filled with Yakuza. Dragged along to the gangsters headquarters, Suzuki is faced with the unpleasant game of "let’s make a deal" that the gangsters are offering in order to pay restitution for the damages. Behind door number one there is the "discount plan", which starts with the breaking of one of Suzuki’s fingers, and behind door number two lies a ridiculously large sum of money to pay for the "damages" to the luxury car. Neither is obviously very appealing, but luckily for Suzuki, fate intervenes in a big way and suddenly he finds himself in possession of a large sum of money, in the company of a wallflower nurse (soon to make a butterflyesque transformation) and on the run from the Yakuza.
Never settling for the easy way out, Adrenaline Drive handles all of this creatively and with a strong sense of humour, which makes for an interesting time. It’s sort of like Takeshi Kitano (Hana-Bi, Violent Cop, the brilliant Sonatine) minus the extreme violence (although this film is by no means devoid of violence,) and that’s a good thing.
Well worth your time.
This article was originally published in Boston's Weekly Dig (now digBoston) in April 2000.