Adrenaline Drive

  • 2000
  • 1 HR 51 MIN
  • NR
  • Comedy, Crime

Supremely silly on the surface but full of sophisticated sight gags and deadpan humor, the latest film from Japanese director Shinobu Yaguchi (MY SECRET CACHE) melds teenage romance and yakuza crime thriller. Nerdy teenagers Shizuko (Hikari Ishida) and Suzuki (Masanobu Ando) find themselves in love and on the run with a bag of blood-soaked yen, and the...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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Supremely silly on the surface but full of sophisticated sight gags and deadpan humor, the latest film from Japanese director Shinobu Yaguchi (MY SECRET CACHE) melds teenage romance and yakuza crime thriller. Nerdy teenagers Shizuko (Hikari Ishida) and Suzuki (Masanobu

Ando) find themselves in love and on the run with a bag of blood-soaked yen, and the result is a thumping good time. The trouble starts when Suzuki, a rental-car agent, accidentally rear-ends a flashy Jaguar owned by no-nonsense yakuza Kuroiwa (Yutaka Matushige). Kuroiwa drags Suzuki back to the

yakuza den where his fellow gangsters are busy counting the profits from their bookie operation. But just as Kuroiwa starts snapping Suzuki's fingers, a gas stove explodes and kills nearly everyone in the office. Shizuko, a meek student nurse on her way back from the night shift at General

Hospital, calls Suzuki an ambulance, but before it arrives he grabs a case full of the dirty money. Soon he and Shizuko are running for their lives from the only other survivor of the blast — Kuroiwa. Much of the film is apparently meant to be a satire of Japanese teenage romances (there's a

hilarious scene involving Shizuko's coworkers, who obsessively consult their horoscopes and dream about the men they're going to marry), but while previous experience with Japanese popular culture is certainly an asset here, it's not required. The film bounces along on the charm of its leads (a

major television star back in Japan, Ishida is adorable), some expertly staged action and Yaguchi's bone-dry sense of humor, which lends the film a fresh unpredictability. Bonus: The Japanese comedy troupe Jovi Jova as Kuroiwa's gang of thugs, a band of slack-jawed clods who lose interest in the

fugitives the minute they lose their scent.

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