90s Far East Bracket: Adorenarin Doraibu (Adrenaline Drive, 1999)

What better way to break in a new dwelling than with the first film in my sixth match-up in the first round of the 90s Far East Bracket!

Written By: Shinobu Yaguchi
Directed By: Shinobu Yaguchi

I had planned to write about Adorenarin Doraibu as soon as I finished it, I had no homework to worry about, tomorrow will be a different story, and knew that I wanted to write while the film was fresh in my mind. Sadly I forgot that my new wireless router has yet to arrive and that meant I couldn’t go online to write it while my brother was playing his 360. I know what some of you are saying, “Big deal, take your laptop into your room and write, quit whining like a baby!” I could have done that sure, but I have a set area I like to write in and a set process I like to follow. I don’t know what this has to do with the movie, nothing that I can think of, and it sure as hell doesn’t matter to any of you, but every once in a while I will deliver a rambling mess of a rant unto your eyes.

Okay, I suppose I should get into the actual review, you know, the only reason you people actually come to my little site. I honestly wasn’t expecting a lot going into Adorenarin Doraibu, and much of the thanks for that can be directed at the blurb on the Netflix sleeve. It simply didn’t sound like that interesting of a film to me, at least not the type of film I would connect with. It only took about five minutes of the actual film for me to realize the blurb was quite erroneous, what I had been led to believe would be a nonstop gag fest was instead a slow and observant comedy. Once again I can be looked at as the template for why it is never a good idea to assume, because every time I go ahead and assume I do in fact make an ass of myself.

While I wasn’t prepared for the comedic style of Adorenarin Doraibu, once exposed to said style I found myself diving headfirst into the film like it was a vat of million dollar bills or something. There’s something to be said for the slickness of a money laundering scene where the characters are physically washing the money and putting it in commercial dryers at a laundromat. It would have been easy for the director/writer, Shinobu Yaguchi, to be blunt with scenes like that, to have a moment of realization where the characters relay to the audience exactly how ironic the act they are committing happens to be. Thankfully that moment never comes and in the laundromat scene, and many others like it, the moment remains quiet and subdued with the comedy playing out for the audience instead of being told to the audience.

Adorenarin Doraibu is a comedy first and foremost, and to be honest it is quite reminiscent of 1993’s True Romance in its general story, but the film also goes for some thematic depth. The characters of Suzuki and Sato are social rejects who end up changing a lot by the films end. They don’t change because of the money however, they change because they finally allow someone else into their lives. It’s not Godard or anything like that, but it’s a small touch that adds an extra layer of depth to a film that I already greatly enjoyed.

There are a few moments near the end of Adorenarin Doraibu where I believe Yaguchi goes a little too overboard and realistic with his violence. Most of the fun of the movie can be found in the sweet innocence of its two main characters, and the sudden shock of seeing people get plastered with shovels and other items is a bit too much of a tonal shift. This only happens near the end of the film, all of the previous violence was seen either off screen or handled in a more subtle and offbeat manner. It’s not a major complaint on my end, but it did bug me while watching the film and the more I think about it the more I don’t like the way the final act of the film turned so shockingly violent.

I like to be surprised by a film, I think we all do in some way. I’m happy that I was able to write a positive review of Adorenarin Doraibu for you today. Believe it or not but it is much easier for me to write glowing reviews than it is for me to write negative ones, that’s why I love writing reviews for movies that I really liked. I know that Adorenarin Doraibu is a movie that very few have seen, and if you are one of the many who haven’t seen it and are looking for a different sort of heistish comedy then give Adorenarin Doraibu a chance, but like usual make sure you ignore whatever Netflix, or whomever your DVD retailer of choice is, has to say about the film.

Rating:

***1/2

Cheers,
Bill

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