Strong Wills; Quick Thrills

Shinobu Yaguchi's Adrenaline Drive is more sluggish and contrived than his mordant debut feature, Down the Drain, although its premise is strikingly similar. In both films, a seemingly casual incident places the unprepossessing protagonist outside the law and transforms her or his life in ways not previously imaginable. In Down the Drain, the unintentional misuse of a subway pass sends a young girl on a hellish downward spiral. In Adrenaline Drive, a young man takes the blame when his boss's car rear-ends a yakuza's Jaguar. Forced to accompany the gangster to his headquarters, he expects the worst. Instead, he finds himself in possession of a bag full of cash when a bomb goes off, killing almost everyone else. He flees the scene with a bedraggled nurse who heard the explosion and came by to help. But the pair barely have time to enjoy their windfall when the surviving yakuza and his pickup band of thugs come after them.

Woman under the influence: Viard and Rajot in The New Eve
photo: Sceneries Distribution
Woman under the influence: Viard and Rajot in The New Eve


The New Eve
Directed by Catherine Corsini
Written by Corsini and Marc Syrigas
A Sceneries Distribution release
Opens May 5

Human Traffic
Written and directed by Justin Kerrigan
A Miramax release
Opens May 5

Adrenaline Drive
Written and directed by Shinobu Yaguchi
A Shooting Gallery release
Opens May 5

Yaguchi is onto something interesting here in relation to how money transforms people's lives. Rather than feeling guilty, these two kids, formerly scapegoated at their jobs, become so confident and creative that they're able to out-maneuver their yakuza enemy. But unlike Down the Drain, where the surreal humor was rooted in realistic detail, the slapstick Adrenaline Drive is little more than a cartoon, and not a funny one at that.

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