4K UHD Review: Drive

This Drive is not the Ryan Gosling movie. The Drive arriving on 4K UHD came out in 1997 and stars Mark Dacascos. Who? You know him. Action fans might remember him from Only The Strong where he introduced Capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian martial art. Cradle 2 The Grave had Dacascos face off against Jet Li and DMX. But a majority of people don’t even know Dacascos is a buttkicking superstar. Why? Because since 2005, Dacascos has been the Chairman on Iron Chef America. He’s the mysterious man who presents the secret ingredient on the cooking competition show. Drive shows that he can do more than bring excitement to the introduction of rutabagas.

Toby Wong (Mark Dacascos) is a special agent with something special inside him. Now that China has taken control of Hong Kong, Wong is a wanted man. He arrives in San Franciso only to discover a Chinese crew waiting for him with Vic Madison (Caprica‘s John Pyper-Ferguson) and Hedgehog (Repo Man‘s Tracey Walter) as their local contacts. Wong doesn’t surrender. Even with dozens of men trying to apprehend him, Wong fights them off with overdrive speed. He escapes from the dock and ends up at dive bar. One of the stragglers in the bar is Malik (Def By Temptation‘s Kadeem Hardison). He’s going through a rough patch although not as rough as what Wong is doing to the thugs on his trail. After he beats up the Chinese crew following him, the local cops arrive and think Wong is the attacker. Wong gets Malik to drive him to Los Angeles since now he’s double wanted. What does Wong want? Turns out his superhuman speed and strength comes from a device implanted in him. He has made a deal to have it removed and the technology kept from the Chinese. This is also why Vic, Hedgehog and his Chinese pursuers just can’t shoot him in the head. Wong and Malik’s treacherous road trip involves meeting up with the fun and seductive Deliverance Bodine (Clueless‘ Brittany Murphy). Can Wong survive the journey?

You probably are wondering why Drive didn’t play your local cineplex in ’97 since it sounds like the action will fill the big screen. The film went straight to video. You could have found it on the shelf at Blockbuster. Drive feels like a movie that Cannon films would have made during the ’80s. Mark Dacascos whirls around the screen like a true Cannon superstar. Just when you’re trying to reason out the plot, director Stephen Wang (Guyver: Dark Hero) and writer Scott Phillips throw more action. Brittany Murphy also livens up the film when she pops up at the shabby motel. Tracey Walter once more gives a stellar grubby henchman performance. Kadeem Hardison brings the personality that Wong’s character can’t show since he’s always fixing for a fight.

When Drive came out on home video, the distributors decided to edit the running time from 118 minutes to 99 minutes including snipping off part of the final fight. Why? Maybe they could save on dubbing VHS copies? But on the 4K UHD disc, you can get both the original version and the VHS snipped cut. You’ll want more Drive to go with the higher resolution.

Drive is the perfect movie to get if you’ve seen more than 100 episodes of Iron Chef America. You’ll probably want to get a copy for your mom who often asks, “What does the Chairman do?” Now they’ll know.

The video is 2.35:1 anamorphic. The transfer is 2160p off a 4K scan of the original camera negative. You’ll see more detail when Wong goes into full attack mode. This is Dolby Video. The audio is Dolby ATMOS. There’s also a DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 mixes. You’ll hear a lot of buttkicking out of all the speakers. The movie is subtitled in English.

Highway to Nowhere (20:01) features Jason Tobin (Better Luck Tomorrow & The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift).

Original Theatrical Cut (1:39:46) has more action. Why did they cut away anything for a VHS release?

Deleted Scenes (8:01) has more missing moments

“The Force Behind the Storm” Documentary (47:43) is making of featurette.

Interview Gallery (24:41) includes talks with Mark Dacascos, Steve Wang, Wyatt Reed, Koichi Sakamoto, and Kadeem Hardison.

Commentary features Steve Wang, Koichi Sakamoto, Mark Dacascos and Kadeem Hardison has the four guys discussing what it took to make the films and all the action scenes

Original Trailer (1:41)

Mini-poster that’s prefect for framing in your kitchen to pay homage to The Chairman’s action career.

88 Films present Drive. Directed by Steve Wang. Screenplay by Scott Phillips. Starring Mark Dacascos, Kadeem Hardison, Brittany Murphy, Tracey Walter and John Pyper-Ferguson. Running time 118 minutes. Rated: Unrated. Release Date: September 13, 2022.

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