Plot: What’s it about?
Satoru (Masanobu Ando) is a meek worker at a car rental agency, but he hates his job and he especially hates his boss. He wants to tell him off and do his own thing, but he is too weak and scared to do so, so he keeps plodding ahead. Shizuko (Hikari Ishida) is a timid nurse who wants to fall in love, but seems destined to end up as an old maid. But these two are soon united and thrown into a whirlwind of events, which leads to them falling in love and perhaps even getting married…who knows? A massive explosion had killed a band of gangsters and only one remained alive, with a case filled with blood soaked money in hand. By a strange twist of fate, Shizuko and Satoru end up with the cash and from then on, it’s a wild chase as the two try to pursue their romance, but also keep their newfound riches and avoid being knocked off in the process. With the yakuza in chase and looking to settle the score, will these two emerge alive…and still in love?
I was unsure of what to expect from this movie, but in the end, Adrenaline Drive is a terrific romantic comedy with some crime elements thrown in for good measure. The basic premise seems a little dark, but this is a very light and humorous movie, very upbeat and wildly entertaining, at least I think so. As you can imagine, it has some of the usual romantic comedy drek moments, but it manages to overcome them in time, as all genre winners do. You’ll find some sap laden instances and the film is pretty predictable, but it doesn’t matter here, as Adrenaline Drive is too much fun to critique much, which is good, if you ask me. In other words, it won’t win many awards, but it offers great entertainment value and that can be enough sometimes, as it is here. Masanobu Ando (Battle Royale, Kids Return) and Hikari Ishida (One Summer’s Day) provide wonderful turns in the leads, while backed by a generous amount of solid supporting performers. The direction from Shinobu Yaguchi (Down the Drain) is as good as ever, so it all holds together well and flows at a nice pace. In the end, this is a great movie that makes a splash in an often miserable genre, the romantic comedy. In other words, it is very recommended, although a rental might be good for first timers.
Video: How does it look?
Adrenaline Drive is presented in a 1.78:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. I am not pleased about this, as the case claims it is anamorphic, but it isn’t and that’s not cool at all. This transfer is still good, but I feel mislabeled cases are very bad and mislead many potential customers. But back to the presentation itself, it is decent enough and shows minimal problems, which is good news. I saw some grain and edge enhancement, but nothing too serious in the end. The colors seem accurate, though never too bright, while flesh tones are natural and never falter much. The contrast is a little light at times, but holds up well enough and delivers on the basics. I do wish this was anamorphic, as promised, but in the end, the image should be good enough to please fans and first timers.
Audio: How does it sound?
This release utilizes a mono track in the original Japanese language, with English subtitles provided. This is a basic presentation as you can imagine, since mono options aren’t known for their dynamics. But the bases seem to be covered here and while not all that impressive, this is about as good as mono can be, I think. The music and sound effects come through well enough, while dialogue remains clear and crisp throughout, not much else you can ask for in this case.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes no bonus materials.